January 29, 2023

The public are advised to hit down, avoid travel if possible

Benjamin Mandile

The Chronicle News

Eastern Colorado from eastern Costilla County to the Colorado-Kansas border and northeastern New Mexico are facing high winds through 5 p.m. tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

“Extreme” effects of wind gusts up to 75 mph are projected along the Interstate 25 corridor south from Pueblo to Raton Mesa, with gusts of up to 100 mph in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains above 7,500 feet through 5 p.m. today night, according to an NWS report on Friday morning. Gusts of up to 100mph are also more likely near Trinidad and western Las Animas County this morning.

The strongest winds are expected over Raton Mesa.

Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines, widespread power outages are expected and travel will be difficult – particularly for high-profile vehicles and articulated lorries, according to an NWS high wind warning issued Thursday afternoon.

Peak gusts could reach 60 to 70 mph along the flats, with areas of kicked-up dust potentially obscuring visibility in areas with loose soil, the report said.

Residents of the Far Eastern Plains, including eastern Las Animas County, are advised not to be outside in wooded areas or near trees and branches, stay on the lower levels of homes if possible during the storm, and exercise caution when driving is required.

“The strong crosswinds are the main concern,” said Kyle Mozley, an NWS meteorologist. “If you drive a high-profile vehicle or a light vehicle, they can blow around on the freeway, especially I-25. There may be some blotchy areas of kicked-up dust to look out for.”

The Bartlett and Johnson Mesas, Raton Mesa, Far Northeast and Far Northwest Highlands in New Mexico are also expected to see damaging winds, difficult rides for high-profile vehicles and widespread power outages, according to an Albuquerque NWS weather report released Thursday afternoon.

Residents are advised to secure outdoor trash cans, patio furniture and other “loose light” items, the NWS said. “Extremely dangerous” driving conditions are expected and drivers of high-profile vehicles are advised to postpone the ride.

A red flag warning has been issued for Las Animas and Huerfano counties, including Trinidad, Thatcher, Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Walsenburg and the Comanche National Grasslands, due to high winds, warm temperatures and low relative humidity. Relative humidity is expected to be around 15% today, according to NWS, with temperatures forecast to reach 75 degrees in Trinidad, 71 degrees near Thatcher, 60 degrees near Kim and 68 degrees near Walsenburg.

The NWS reminded residents to avoid any activity that could start a fire.

“We have a red flag warning, so any form of burning is strongly discouraged,” Mozley said.

Las Animas County is subject to a Level I Fire Ban enacted August 2, prohibiting all open flames.

NWS Pueblo said all high wind warnings end at 5 p.m. tonight.

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