Montana: A Giant, Dangerous Wind Tunnel Through Tuesday
Wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph may pummel at least 25 Montana counties through Tuesday morning. A huge section of the state is under a High Wind Warning or Wind Advisory.
Dangerous travel conditions are going to occur in various locations around the state through Tuesday morning. (Some of these weather advisories/warnings are in effect through Monday night...others are in effect until Tuesday mid-day.)
Central, north central and west central Montana are supposed to get the most powerful wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph. (Areas around Great Falls, White Sulphur Springs, Fort Benton, Helena, Shelby and Cut Bank may experience the worst of it.)
The notoriously windy I-90 corridor from Livingston to Big Timber to Reed Point is NOT actually one of the worst this time around, although they certainly have their own advisory.
- Travel may be difficult and/or dangerous at times during these advisories
- Blowing dust, dirt or snow may drop visibilities quickly
- Power outages are certainly possible and trees may go down
Here are just a few of the statewide details included in these warnings and advisories. According to the National Weather Service:
Beartooth Foothills and Livingston area: From 6 AM Sunday morning until Noon Tuesday. Southwest winds 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 65 mph expected. Strong crosswinds will make travel difficult along Interstate 90 around Livingston and roads along the Beartooth Foothills.
Great Falls area: High Wind Warning until noon on Tuesday. Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Power outages are expected. Travel will be very difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Winds 40 to 50 mph with gusts over 60 mph expected. Gusts over 80 mph possible.
Butte, Georgetown Lake, Homestake Pass, and MacDonald Pass: Wind Advisory focusing on just Sunday. West winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts around 50 mph expected.
Flathead Lake area: Lake Wind Advisory through Sunday. On the lake, strong winds and rough waves will create hazardous conditions for small craft. Waves 1 to 3 feet with south winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 35 mph expected on Flathead Lake.
What's the difference between a Warning, Watch and Advisory? The severity of the expected weather. According to the exact definitions from the National Weather Service:
- High Wind Warning: Take Action! Sustained, strong winds with even stronger gusts are happening. Seek shelter. If you are driving, keep both hands on the wheels and slow down.
- High Wind Watch: Be Prepared! Sustained, strong winds are possible. Secure loose outdoor items and adjust plans as necessary so you're not caught outside.
- Wind Advisory: Take Action! Strong winds are occurring but are not so strong as to warrant a High Wind Warning. Objects that are outdoors should be secured and caution should be taken if driving.