You’ve heard of snow days, but what the heck is a Wind Day? Schools across Nebraska drew outrage today as they announced their first Wind Days in the history of various school districts. Other states and travel hubs like Denver, Colorado soon followed suit canceling hundreds of flights in mass.
From the desert in the South to the Great Lakes of the North, millions of Americans find themselves under an extreme wind advisory. An estimated 86 million Americans, that is. Winds continue to push upwards of 80mph-100mph in these areas potentially signifying a dangerous “historic” wind gust event.
The Dangers of a Wind Gust Event of This Magnitude
High winds typically don’t cause much panic, but they can be dangerous for a handful of reasons. Untethered trampolines and bouncy castles, for example, can quickly take flight with or without children aboard. Then, there’s always the risk that they’ll end up in high-traffic areas. Just ask the residents of Pueblo, Colorado who saw this firsthand today.
But Colorado isn’t the only state seeing the effects of this crazy wind. Kansas and Texas have also reported downed powerlines, toppled trees, and overturned semis. Part of the decision to cancel in-person classes actually has to do with the latter because busses are another high-profile vehicle that can easily overturn.
The craziest part of this whole thing is that this event might not even peak until tomorrow across the country. Kansas expects the event to top their state’s records with the National Weather Service sharing these statistics:
The top 5 wind gusts in Goodland, Kansas range from 96 mph to 78 mph. Will December 15, 2021 make the top 5? Expect strong to damaging wind gusts across the Tri-State Region on Wednesday! #kswx pic.twitter.com/sQFRoBgy7t— NWS Goodland (@NWSGoodland) December 14, 2021
In order to best prepare, we also have to talk about the potential for storms that the gusts may bring in and how serious the damage may be.
The Potential for Storms
As we’ve already seen in the Midwest over the past week, tornadoes and storms are no joke. They move impossibly fast and can cause millions of dollars of damage in addition to tragic fatalities in just one fell swoop. Not only are citizens concerned about fast-moving thunderstorms with this sudden wind event, but they are also concerned about all the dust.
The winds have been so strong that dust has made visibility near-zero in some parts. The weather service has even launched warnings for what they call “dangerous, life-threatening” travel conditions.
To some, this has also brought out a comparison to the Dust Bowl of the ’30s which wreaked mass havoc on both the ecology and agriculture of much of the US.
So hold onto your hats and stay safe out there, Outsiders.