It’s winter in North Dakota — but it is the wind, not snow, that caused power outages, school bus delays and property damage across the region Thursday morning.
Powerful wind gusts possibly as high as 105 mph were reported at the Crosby National Weather Service station — a reading that has yet to be officially confirmed by the weather service. The winds downed power lines, uprooted trees and sent anything not anchored down on wild flights down streets and across open areas.
High winds are initially thought to be responsible for an accident east of Bismarck on I-94 near Sterling, where a semi lost control on the road and ended up sideways across two lanes of traffic, temporarily blocking vehicles. The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating.
At least 15 communities in western North Dakota reported power was out, according to the Montana-Dakota Utilities Outage Map.
Several school districts reported buses were running late due to the winds.
Area residents documented some of the high wind impact in photos shared at the KX News Facebook page and elsewhere on social media.
According to KX Meteorologist Amber Wheeler, high winds are expected to continue throughout Thursday before the tornado-like gusts begin to ease.