A rarely-issued High Wind Watch is posted for a large portion of western and central Iowa for much of today. Meteorologist David Pearson, at the National Weather Service, says motorists can expect to be dodging garbage cans, recycling bins and anything else that’s not nailed down. “We don’t issue these too often so it is somewhat of a big deal,” Pearson says. “Wind gusts to 50 miles per hour wouldn’t be out of the question, even a bit higher.”
Some of the alerts say winds may reach 60 miles an hour — or stronger. “At that point you can start even seeing some damage to structures,” Pearson says. “It’s possible, especially tree damage, too.” At 74-miles an hour, it would be considered hurricane strength. Blowing snow or dust could make driving hazardous. The winds will be more than a nuisance to anyone driving a high-profile vehicle.
Pearson was asked for his advice for drivers of trucks, vans or campers who have to get from Point A to Point B. “You need to not go and that’s just being honest as there’s not a whole lot you can do,” Pearson says. “Obviously, it depends on the vehicle and the experience of the person driving. The wind’s going to be out of the northwest so if you’re taking Interstate 80, west to east, that wind’s going to be hitting your broadside and the effects could be pretty dangerous if the wind’s high enough.”
Today’s advisory covers parts of Iowa and five other states: Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and Kansas.