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Two Days of Intense Winds - January 14th and 15th, 2021

Intense northwest winds pummeled the Central Plains for two consecutive days on January 14th and 15th, with severe wind gusts of 58 to 70 mph common across much of south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. An upper low pressure system moving inland from the Pacific Northwest deepened across the Plains states and sent a strong cold front southward across our region.

A surge of strong winds developed behind a cold front during the pre-dawn hours on January 14th and winds remained intense thereafter as the surface pressure gradient tightened on the back side of the mean upper low strengthening to our east across Iowa.  

The combination of dry weather with low relative humidity and the intense winds provided favorable conditions for the spread of wildfires, and a grass fire developed five miles north of Guide Rock, NE and quickly spread for eight miles before it was extinguished two miles west of Bostwick. The fire and smoke plume were visible on weather satellite, radar and was also seen on the NDOT web camera.

Two days of fierce northwest winds also produced areas of damage including downed tree limbs, damage to buildings and also toppled high profile vehicles.

January 14, 2021 - Grass fire near Guide Rock, NE
photo by Nebraska State Patrol


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