Keith Irwin

Windy, blackout

I woke up around 5:48 when it started gusting. I could hear the wind whoosh overhead and then feel it blast the side of my rv. Unfortunately, the RV faces east and typically takes the southern winds broadside. The wind was particularly strong (I vaguely recall hearing about 70mph gusts but it was calm when I went to bed). It was able to rock my RV despite being up on jackstands. Branches and other debris knocked into my walls, and my christmass lights scratched violently on the roof.

Around 6:01 we lost power for about five seconds, then it came back for about ten seconds, and then it went out again. I stayed in bed for a few more hours while my RV slowly lost all its heat. It was only 20°F but the wind was enough to sap all the warmth out. When I got up, I started the engine and generator and then turned off the engine. (My deep-cycle batteries, which start the generator, are duds so I need the motor to start the generator). My RV started to heat up.

I was totally cut off because the wifi was down (so was my neighbor's) and cell service is spotty where I live. It was non-existant with the blowing snow. I longed for a newspaper. I couldn't pick up any FM radio, but my neighbor replied on the CB. He said his power just came back on. I turned off my generator and found that mine was on too.

The gusts continued throughout the day. It seemed like the higher elevations were struggling with the wind, including us on the edge of the San Juan mountains. The MyWeatherRadar app indicated peak gusts of 77mph in our area.

Radar image showing wind gusts in Colorado

Other parts of the west were getting hit hard, with western Kansas seeing 85+ mph winds and parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico seeing over 100mph.

Radar image showing wind gusts in Colorado and the great plains

I just happened to be looking out my window and saw this unfortunate motorist glide sideways off the road and into the ditch. He wasn't going very fast, but had been caught on ice by a gust while coming around a curve.

Photo of a black car in the ditch by Highway 17

Of course I ran outside to check on the driver, who appeared totally fine albeit embarrased. He was lucky to have missed the irrigation stream by about 50 feet and to have missed a tree by a foot or two. The tree had a black cross on it, indicating that someone had run off the road here before, fatally.

^ 2021/12

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