Strong winds that started Wednesday may have set a record and caused damage around the area, including affecting travel statewide.
A high-wind warning was in effect through 6 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15, and the National Weather Service Bismarck Office predicted winds between 35 and 40 mph with gusts as high as 70 mph.
The wind prompted the North Dakota Highway Patrol to urge all motorists to travel with care during the winds.
“During these conditions, high-profile, long-load type, and permitted over dimensional vehicles have restricted travel,” a statement from the NDHP read. “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.”
There were reports of damage to shingles and fences countywide, according to Lindsey Harriman, communications and research analyst for Williams County. There were also brief power outages Wednesday night and Thursday morning, including in Wildrose and Grenora.
The wind might also have set a record, with a gust of 93 mph recorded at 2:23 a.m. on Thursday. That was recorded at Williston Basin International Airport.
The previous record gust was 65.2 mph, recorded once in 1995 and once in 2005.
It wasn’t clear Thursday how the 93 mph speed should be compared to the previous speeds, as they were recorded at Sloulin Field, while the new speed was captured at the new airport about 1o miles north of Williston.
The wind was strong enough to close the Williston Landfill and stop trash collection on Thursday, as well.
Motorists can access road and weather information by visiting https://travel.dot.nd.gov/. The map has a feature that displays wind speeds reported by the National Weather Service.