Big Falls – Strong winds that hit much of Montana on Wednesday caused widespread damage, including semi-trucks, tree-felling, ripped roofs and more, the National Weather Service in Great Falls. Les said “This is a very windy event for the area.”
The NWS said three locations set new wind speed records in January: Great Falls, 76 mph; Helena, 74 mph; Havre, 72 mph More gusts have been recorded in other areas, particularly along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Highway 87 was closed for hours between Great Falls and Fort Benton. Strong winds blow dust and grime, causing very poor visibility down the road. There were more than 70 mph gusts of wind across the region. Highway 89 from Great Falls to the Belt was briefly closed.
Great Falls Fire Rescue said a second alarm was called in the city to bring in more firefighters to deal with an emergency caused by high winds. There are several grass fires in the area and power outages in and around Great Falls.
Christian Cassell, a meteorologist from the NWS, shared a video of the 5,000-gallon empty fuel tank blowing up State 15:
There were also several semi-trailers blowing along the I-15 near Shelby.
Lincoln Rescue Volunteers Post: “The lines and trees are all descending. Be careful not to get close to any line. It will run through ice and snow and can be deadly. Take hold of anything that can be blown. The roof will be blown off the area.
The National Weather Service in Missoula reported 125 mph gusts of wind were recorded in the west of the Sentinel mountain.Missoula Electric Cooperative said more than 4,300 members had been in darkness since 11:15. On Wednesday, major outages were reported in the Bonner, Frenchtown and Tarkio areas. Multiple outages were also reported in the Condon and Seeley Lake areas.
Flathead Electric Cooperative said the number of customers without electricity, more than 13,000, had reported major outages in the West Glacier, Whitefish Lake and Libby areas, as well as in the Kalispell area.