100-mph gust hits Colorado; winds force Wyoming’s I-80 to close
associated press writer
Winds gusting to 100 mph slashed through foothills canyons in Colorado and across the high plains of Wyoming on Friday, prompting travel warnings and closing portions of least five major highways.
A gust of 101 mph was recorded in Boulder, Colo., about 30 miles northwest of Denver at about 2:30 a.m.
“It’s like a river running through the mountains. It moves faster in the narrow areas,” National Weather Service technician Carl Burroughs said. “The wind does the same thing through the canyons here.”
In southern Wyoming, parts of Interstate 80 were closed between Cheyenne and Laramie because of windblown snow driven by gusts over 50 mph and icy patches.
In Colorado, high wind advisories were issued for hundreds of miles of highways. Two short stretches of Interstate 70 in the mountains west of Denver were closed because of high winds and blowing snow. U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass and U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass were closed because of avalanche danger.
Heavily traveled Colorado 93, which parallels the foothills south of Boulder, was shut down but reopened later.
High winds were also forecast for Colorado’s Eastern Plains and western Nebraska.
Burroughs said the position of the high-altitude jet stream combined with a high pressure system spilling into a low-pressure area was producing the strong winds.
Such blasts are not unusual for this time of year along the Rockies.
Colorado’s highest recorded wind gust came in at 201 mph atop 14,259-foot Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. In 1971, the city of Boulder recorded a wind gust at 147 mph.
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