Roof damage in Fremont County and highway blow overs across the state today

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 11:50 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

Much of the state has felt it today, that high wind has been a nuisance, but in some cases it’s even posed a serious threat. With the highest gust in Fremont County recorded so far today at 71 mph, winds were strong enough to invoke some serious damage to a Riverton auto business, as well as some trees and other roofs in the Fremont County area.

Tim Troutman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated, “That can definitely occur across the area this time of year with the winds down sloping down the mountain ranges, and that can really get it going, wind wise, across our region.”

The Extra Care Auto building located on Federal Blvd in Riverton, succumbed to major roof damage this morning. “When winds get above that 60 mph range, that can definitely set the stage for potential for wind damage, which we saw this morning at the Extra Care Auto location,” mentioned Troutman.

Wind gusts in the last 24 hours have ranged from a minimum of 45 with gusts at Riverton Airport exceeding 60 mph, and a gust at Muddy Gap at 71 mph this morning. “As the winds are rushing in the mid to upper levels and pushing from the southwest and west toward our area, we’re getting some downsloping effect that occurs on the Wind River Range and other mountainous areas to the west of us that’s really allowed for the winds to pick up speed out ahead of this next storm system,” stated Troutman.

The weather center also received reports of tree and limb damage from the high wind gusts. “It’s not out of the ordinary for us to have strong winds. We’ve had at least a couple other events this winter where we’ve had really strong winds like this ranging from 40 to close to 70 plus mph winds,” added Troutman. Officials say that in the latter part of the winter it’s quite possible for these damaging high wind situations to happen again, especially in the wind corridor from Sweetwater county up toward Natrona and into southeast portions of Fremont County.

Those gusts also caused some blow overs on Wyoming highways today. Nine total blow-overs have been reported to Wydot so far today. Six occurred on interstate 25 between Chugwater and Casper. Two of them were headed north bound, one south of Cheyenne at mile marker three, and one south of Chugwater on a bridge. Another of the I-25 accidents was at Boudreaux near mile marker 70, where gusts reached as high as 80 miles per hour. The remaining three were driving on US Highway 85.

Jordan Achs, Public Relations Specialist for WYDOT in Cheyenne stated, “That’s been the overall issue today. Both I-25 and I-80 were seeing those 80 mph wind gusts. Arlington area of I-80 also saw an 80 mph wind gust earlier today, and that mixed with the sustained winds of 40-50 mph can really create strong wind situations.”

The semi blow over on a bridge south of Chugwater on I-25 caused the northbound lane of I-25 to completely close for cleanup today. I-25 northbound is now open from the cleanup. However, it is still closed to light and high profile vehicles between the Colorado state line and Casper.

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