Great Falls-Strong winds blowing in most of Montana on Wednesday caused extensive damage-dumped semi trucks, fallen trees, overturned roofs, etc. The Great Falls National Weather Service said: “Even in this area, this is an extreme wind event.”
NWS said that three locations set a new January wind speed record: Great Falls, 76 miles per hour; Great Falls, 76 miles per hour. Helena, 74 mph; Havre, 72 mph. In other areas, especially on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountain Front, gusts of wind were recorded.
Highway 87 between Great Falls and Fort Benton was closed for several hours. The strong wind blows up dust and dirt, causing poor visibility along the road. The whole area has strong winds exceeding 70 miles per hour. Highway 89 from Great Falls to Belt was also temporarily closed.
The Great Falls Fire Rescue Team said that the town called a second alert to attract more firefighters to respond to emergencies caused by strong winds. There were several wind-blown grass fires in the area, and the Great Falls and its surrounding areas lost power.
NWS meteorologist Christian Cassell shared this video of a 5,000-gallon empty fuel tank blowing up Interstate 1
Several semi trucks were blown up along I-15 near Shelby.
Lincoln Volunteer Fire Brigade Published: “The lines and trees have fallen. Be careful not to get close to any lines. It will flow through the ice and snow and may be fatal. Please make sure everything that may be blown away. The roof is blown away.”
The Missoula National Weather Service reported that gusts of 125 miles per hour were recorded on the west side of Mount Sentinel. The Missoula Electric Cooperative said that as of 11:15 on Wednesday morning, more than 4,300 members were in the dark. More power outages were reported in Bonner, Frenchtown and Tarkio areas. In addition, several power outages were reported in the Condon and Seeley Lake areas.
Flathead Electric Cooperative said the number of customers without electricity exceeded 13,000. According to reports, greater power outages have occurred in West Glacier, Whitefish Lakes and Libby areas, and Kalispell.