A strong frontal boundary Thursday will produce gusty winds across many portions of the West from Montana to Arizona.
More specifically, gusts of 55 to 65 mph from the west and southwest will impact truckers from eastern Montana to Wyoming and the northwestern corner of Colorado. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued high-wind warnings for these areas, which include Miles City, Montana; Casper, Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming; as well as the Yampa River basin in Colorado. This will especially affect drivers deadheading (hauling empty trailers) or carrying light loads on sections of Interstates 25, 70 and 80.
These winds will occur in the absence of thunderstorms. However, in eastern Montana, they may accompany storms that could also produce large hail and isolated tornadoes. Severe storms are also likely across the Dakotas and parts of Nebraska.
Severely drought-stricken areas of the West will also be quite windy Thursday, and the NWS still has red flag warnings posted due to persistent wildfire danger. This includes western Colorado, most of Utah, northwestern New Mexico and northern Arizona. Gusts could exceed 40 mph in some places, increasing the odds of new and existing fires spreading quickly. Smoke may interfere with some drivers on parts of the Interstates 40, 70 and 80 corridors, as well as nearby U.S. and state routes.
The following roads are still closed in Arizona due to two large wildfires:
• U.S. Highway 60 from Superior to Miami.
• State Route 177 from Superior to Winkelman.
• U.S. Highway 180 from north of Flagstaff between mileposts 235 and 248.
Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.
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