The Latest: Strong winds cause worries in New Mexico, Texas
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on severe weather impacting the central U.S. (all times local):
Strong winds associated with a weather system moving out of the Rockies and into the Plains are creating dangerous wildfire conditions in New Mexico and Texas.
The National Weather Service says winds in excess of 50 mph (80.46 kph) will combine with low humidity and an unstable atmosphere to create critical fire conditions.
Weather Prediction Center forecaster David Roth says wind gusts have already exceeded 60 mph (96.56 kph) in west Texas.
Forecasters in New Mexico also say the winds will make travel difficult on north-south oriented roads such as Interstate 25, particularly for high-profile vehicles, and cause loose objects to become airborne.
In southern New Mexico, the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range closed Wednesday because of high winds, with only emergency essential personnel told to report to work.
Blizzard warnings are posted from Colorado to Minnesota as a storm develops that could rival last month’s bomb cyclone.
The National Weather Service says up to 2 ½ feet (0.61 meters) of snow could fall in parts of eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has closed state government offices in 52 counties. Numerous schools around the state have closed. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says “the National Guard stands ready” to rescue any stranded motorists.
A bomb cyclone is an unusual weather phenomenon in which air pressure drops rapidly and a storm strengthens explosively. Last month’s storm led to massive flooding in the Midwest that caused billions of dollars in damage.
Forecasters say this week’s storm will swell rivers again, but maybe not as much.