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Storms, Gusty Winds Zap The Northern Plains

UPDATED 8 PM CDT, October 11, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Matt Mehallow

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A compact storm moving out of the Rockies is slamming the Northern Plains today with a burst of severe storms, high winds, and even the threat of flooding.

The culprit driving this potent storm is a small but powerful upper-level disturbance that is moving off the eastern side of the Rockies before making a beeline for central Canada. At the surface, a low pressure continues to strengthen as it moves northward. The primary severe weather threat with these storms is destructive wind gusts topping 70 mph.

Rain is spiraling around the back side of the low pressure in the western Dakotas, with amounts exceeding 1 inch in spots. This is helping to accelerate the snow melt process from last week`s record blizzard in the Black Hills.

The compact and powerful nature of this storm is also leading to howling winds across the Northern Prairies. The storm is wedged between a high pressure in the East and another in western Canada, leading to widespread wind gusts of 50 to almost 70 mph.

High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories stretch from northern Colorado to Nebraska and the Dakotas. Gusts up to 70 mph are possible today. These winds are capable of bringing down branches and even power lines. Already today, Buffalo, S.D., recorded a wind gust of 66 mph while Belle Fourche, S.D. reported a gust of 58 mph.

The storm will rapidly move into Canada Saturday, ending the severe threat. However, gusty northwest winds will follow across the remainder of the Northern Plains in its wake.

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