AMES, Iowa – High wind warnings are in effect from New Mexico to the Canadian border, affecting the Texas panhandle, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan.
In Iowa, the mile-long bridge that carries Iowa 415 over Saylorville Lake closed at noon on Wednesday due to anticipated high winds.
According to the National Weather Service, very strong winds will occur through the afternoon and overnight on Wednesday with speeds of between 30 and 40 miles per hour and gusts up to 70 miles per hour.
An Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) news release said that the bridge is designed “to move somewhat with strong winds, but today’s high wind warnings make traveling on the bridge hazardous.”
IDOT bridge crews are prepared to inspect the bridge for any ill effects of the winds prior to the bridge reopening to traffic. The bridge is anticipated to reopen at 8 a.m. on Thursday.
Motorists, especially those traveling in high-profile vehicles, are encouraged to find alternative routes during this high-wind event. Closure information will be posted on the 511 Traveler Information System. Digital message boards will also be placed at both ends of the bridge to warn motorists of potential closures.
During high-wind events, motorists are reminded of these safety tips:
- Be aware of the weather and the potential for changing conditions and adjust your travel to avoid inclement weather if possible.
- Avoid bridges or other locations that are higher up that could put your vehicle in a position to experience high wind gusts more readily.
- Keep your distance from other vehicles, especially high-profile vehicles, because the wind could suddenly blow them over or into your lane.
- Keep your hands firmly on the wheel and expect the unexpected.
- Avoid distractions and concentrate of the task of driving.
- Slow down.
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