Damaging Winds South of the Wind River Range and The Owl Creeks Tonight

Some of the expected wind effects are becoming clearer as the storm approaches...

There is no doubt that Wyoming is a state that gets its share of wind, but when it comes from a direction other than the prevailing wind direction, more damage is often the result. There is high pressure building in to the north after today's frontal passage, these rapid height rises will cause wind to rush from north to south as the build up of air from the high seeks an area of lower pressure to our south. This will cause winds to rush "backward" through the two major central mountain ranges: the Owl Creeks, and the Wind River Mountains.

Normally, areas along the northern portion of the Wind River Mountains (e.g. Lander), and to a lesser extent, the Owl Creeks, are at the mercy of the winds coming off of the nearby peaks. This is because the prevailing winds are coming from the West to Southwest across these ranges. This time, the winds will be coming from the opposite direction...and they will be coming fast.

After going through our computer model data, a mountain wave signature was discovered south of the Wind River Mountains going into Pinedale. Normally, the wind at Pinedale blows the hardest out of the northwest, so very strong winds from the northEAST may cause more damage than the same magnitude of wind from the prevailing direction.

The shaded portion of the image shows the effect of the mountain wave on the temperatures above Pinedale as the winds rush over the Wind River Range. The models are putting a 50KT (58MPH) Wind Barb at the surface just north of Pinedale. This means that the models are expecting SUSTAINED 58MPH winds with higher gusts near Pinedale...some of these gusts will likely make it into Pinedale between midnight tonight and sunrise on Thursday. Click on the picture to be taken to a larger image.

The mountain wave will affect more than just the Pinedale area. Anyone who lives near the southwestern face of the wind river mountains should take steps to secure property that will be vulnerable to northwest winds today before the winds begin tonight.

Residents near the Owl Creeks, especially north of Pavillion and from Shoshoni north, as well as anyone who lives in the Wind River Canyon, near Boysen Reservoir, or in/near any canyon of the Owl Creeks should also take steps to secure property that is vulnerable to a strong north wind. Since the Owl Creeks are a smaller mountain range that the Wind River Mountains, it is harder to get a mountain wave going, however, the already strong winds will be funneled through the canyons and enhance the speeds.

Click here to read the latest Watch/Warning product.

Below is a model depiction of the wind speeds expected at around Midnight tonight, in the overnight hours, and just before sunrise:

Time: Just Before Midnight

The arrows indicate the direction that the wind is blowing from. The shaded portion is the wind magnitude (the key is at the top left of the image). The red lines are the the major roads around the area.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Time: Around 2am

The arrows indicate the direction that the wind is blowing from. The shaded portion is the wind magnitude (the key is at the top left of the image). The red lines are the the major roads around the area.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Time: Around 5am

The arrows indicate the direction that the wind is blowing from. The shaded portion is the wind magnitude (the key is at the top left of the image). The red lines are the the major roads around the area.

Click on the picture for a larger image.



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