Damaging winds are likely across North Dakota today, with winds diminishing late tonight. Wind speeds reached 92 miles per hour in Hettinger County on Wednesday night causing some structural damage to New England businesses and uprooting a few of the county's trees.
Record setting 105 mile per hour winds are projected in Stark County this afternoon and through this evening, diminishing late in the evening. Nearly all of North Dakota are expected to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria over the next 12 to 48 hours.
An area of low pressure will develop over the Upper Midwest today. This low pressure system is expected to remain stationary over the region through Friday before continuing on into the Great Lakes and Northeast on Saturday. Strong winds are expected to continue to be an issue on the backside of this system over the Northern/Central Plains through Friday morning.
High Wind Warnings are in effect for much of the Northern/Central Plains as a result.
Lt. Dave Wolf, with the North Dakota Highway Patrol, is urging all motorists to travel with care as during these conditions as high-profile vehicles could encounter strong enough winds to potentially overturn the vehicle.
"All long-load type and permitted over dimensional vehicles have restricted travel. North Dakota law restricts movement for these vehicles when wind or other conditions may cause the vehicle or attachment to swerve, whip, sway or fail to follow in the path of the towing vehicle," Wolf said. "Federal regulations direct the operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) to reduce speeds when hazardous conditions such as snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust or smoke adversely affect visibility or traction. These same regulations direct CMV drivers to cease operations altogether if conditions become sufficiently dangerous."
The National Weather Service are advising that power outages and roof damage are possible with the strength of the winds and for residents to be mindful of unsecured outdoor objects as they will be blown away if left untethered and outdoors.
"Travel will be very difficult. Occasional periods of light snow will accompany the high winds today, with the combination of the high winds and falling snow leading to significantly reduced visibility at times in open country," a press release read. "People should avoid being outside, especially around trees and on elevated surfaces. Use caution if you must travel."