Hurricane force winds knocked out power Monday evening, ripped off tree limbs in Lander
(Lander, Wyo.) – A strong push from a cold front moving through the Lander Foothills produced hurricane strength winds in the six o’clock hour Monday night. The high gusts downed tree limbs and burned out power line equipment leaving 798 Lander residents without power until 12:37 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Meteorologist Brett McDonald at the Riverton National Weather Service Office said the peak gust was 76 mph at the Lander’s Hunt Field Airport at 6:45 p.m. The NWS classifies hurricane strength winds beginning at 74 mph.
A WYDOT gauge at Red Canyon recorded a 74 mph gust at 6:10 p.m., there was a 68 mph gust at a gauge on the North Fork of the Popo Agie River at 6:42 p.m. and a 66 mph gust on the top of Beaver Rim at 6:15 p.m.
“Judging from the timing of the gusts, the wind came off of South Pass down the foothills to Lander in a big push,” McDonald said. “We thought we’d get similar wind in Riverton, but our gauge never topped 50 mph here, but it was steady at 25 to 40 mph for about 30 minutes.” South Pass did register a gust of 57 mph and Hudson had a 58 mph gust, he said.
At Rocky Mountain Power’s media center in Salt Lake City, Paul Murphy reported the first Lander outage occurred at 6:38 p.m., coinciding with the strong wind push, cutting power to 497 customers. The second outage was reported at 11:09 p.m. A total of 798 customers lost power. “Our linemen found some burnt equipment and did some switching to get the repairs done,” Murphy said. “A combination of heat and high winds will sometimes burn out equipment, and you certainly had the wind strength.”
Reports of damage around Lander were numerous on social media, with mostly tree limbs, lawn furniture, trampolines, picnic tables and the like torn off, upset or blown over. Several large cottonwood trees were also uprooted, including several in the Fort Washakie area. One resident posted a photo of a flatbed trailer that had been parked, but it ended up several hundred feet away, blown by the wind, the trailer’s tongue gouging the earth the entire distance.
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