• ITVI.USA
    14,959.950
    116.940
    0.8%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.933
    0.012
    0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    19.350
    0.220
    1.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    14,926.910
    120.050
    0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.910
    -0.050
    -1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.790
    0.080
    2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.460
    0.170
    13.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.740
    0.020
    0.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.270
    0.030
    1.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.150
    -0.010
    -0.2%
  • WAIT.USA
    131.000
    -2.000
    -1.5%
  • ITVI.USA
    14,959.950
    116.940
    0.8%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.933
    0.012
    0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    19.350
    0.220
    1.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    14,926.910
    120.050
    0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.910
    -0.050
    -1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.790
    0.080
    2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.460
    0.170
    13.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.740
    0.020
    0.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.270
    0.030
    1.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.150
    -0.010
    -0.2%
  • WAIT.USA
    131.000
    -2.000
    -1.5%
InsightsNewsWeather and Critical Events

Truckers face high-wind threat sweeping across northern Plains

Gusts of 100 mph possible in parts of Montana

Truckers in a large part of Montana will face dangerously high winds Tuesday and Wednesday, increasing the risk of rollovers.


Related: Rollover alleys: 5 Interstate stretches that pose greatest risk


The area is stuck between two systems — a low-pressure center to the north in Canada and a high-pressure center to the south in the Great Basin. The pressure difference between the systems is strong enough to produce extreme winds, especially in central and western portions of Big Sky Country.

The National Weather Service has issued high-wind alerts for places such as Great Falls, Havre, Cut Bank and spots in between. Sustained winds, mostly from the west, are forecast to reach 35 to 55 mph, with gusts hitting 60 to 70. In some areas along the Rocky Mountain Front, where the eastern slopes of the Rockies meet the Montana plains, gusts could be as high as 90 to 100 mph.

Other locations at risk include Marias Pass, Bynum, Choteau, Browning, Heart Butte, Logan Pass, Augusta, Raynesford, Stanford, Cascade, Belt, Hobson, Judith Gap, Big Timber, Harlowton, Lewistown Divide, Chester, Lewistown, Chinook, Harlem and Big Sandy.

The winds will impact drivers on sections of Interstate 15, as well as U.S. Highways 2 and 89. Because dry van and reefer trailers have large surface areas, they behave almost like wind sails. The magnitude of the predicted crosswinds could not only tip over empty trailers or light loads, but they may easily blow over full truckloads of freight.

Light rain and snow may accompany the winds, possibly leading to reduced visibility at times. The threat of excessive winds should fade by Wednesday night.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 15 from Great Falls to the Montana-Canada border.
• U.S. Highway 2 from Summit to Havre.
• U.S. Highway 89 from Lewis and Clark National Park to the Montana-Canada border.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his 20 years of on-air experience, Nick has worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV forecasting weather and reporting on weather from the field. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.