Strong winds, up to 70 mph, blowing debris and limiting visibility on the Eastern Plains has forced a shutdown of Interstate 70 in both directions, from east of Denver to the Kansas state line.
The windy conditions and dust storms have contributed to multiple vehicles crashes, including one fatality, on the highway, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The fatal crash happened near Hugo.
The highway is expected to be closed for an “extended” period, the state patrol said.
— Colorado State Patrol (@CSP_News) January 15, 2021
The National Weather Service has issued a “blowing dust warning” for the Eastern Plains until 2 p.m. and a high wind warning is posted for the area until 5 p.m. Friday. Winds are in the 30 to 40 mph range with gusts up 70 mph. Visibility is less than a one-fourth of a mile in some areas. Counties under the warning include: Lincoln, Washington and eastern Elbert.
High winds over the Eastern Plains on Friday is also increasing “critical fire danger,” the weather service said. The strong winds are expected to slowly decrease this afternoon. Low humidity is also contributing to the increased fire danger.
— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) January 15, 2021
In the Colorado mountains, winds gusts of 60 to 80 mph are expected at elevations above 11,000 feet, the weather service said. In the foothills, gusts will be in the 60 to 70 mph, range. Blowing snow will cause travel problems in some areas on Friday.
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