West, Rockies, Plains Slammed By High Winds
Winds of 80-100 MPH stopped Union Pacific trains from North Platte, Nebraska to Green River Wyoming as a powerful weather system moves into the Upper Midwest. Many spots in the Rockies recorded Category 3 hurricane-force gusts as the jet stream reached ground level. Mount Sentinel in Montana recorded the highest gust at 125 MPH, with Beckenridge, Colorado at 116 MPH and Alta, Utah at 109 MPH. Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming also saw winds in excess of 100 MPH. High plains areas of the western Dakotas and the Nebraska panhandle saw 65-80 MPH winds. Environment Canada reported similar wind speed in southern Saskatchewan. The system moved east Thursday night into Minnesota, the Dakotas and eastern Nebraska with 60-70 MPH gusts and blizzard conditions. Portions of Minnesota are forecasted for a foot of snow along with significant blowing and drifting. The system will also impact Iowa and parts of Wisconsin. Oregon and Washington were also hard hit as more than 300,000 customers were without power.