Panhandle winds

With wind gusts at 86 miles per hour on Thursday, the oxen team at the Scotts Bluff National Monument could not keep from falling over.

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — When the wind speed surpasses that of the speed limit on highways and interstates, you know something bad is bound to happen.

Such was the case during Thursday night’s wind gusts throughout the Panhandle. Winds as high as 68 mph were reported in Chadron, 62 mph at the Scottsbluff airport and 69 mph in Torrington.

With such punishing winds, it’s no surprise homes and trees took the brunt of its gusts.

“I had some shingle issues before then. After last night, when the wind went through, I’m missing a pretty good-sized chunk in the middle of my roof,” Gering resident Brandon Buhlke said. “My neighborhood has a lot of tree branches down, and I had a baby pool in my front yard this morning. I have no idea who it belongs to.”

The strongest gusts in the area were at the Scotts Bluff National Monument, which had winds of 86 mph.

“Summit Road is closed because with wind reaching 60 mph at the visitors center, it can reach nearly 100 mph at the top,” Park Ranger Lesley Gaunt said. “We really don’t want to put our visitors at risk.”

Gaunt added wind damage at the national park included a tumbleweed jam and a rock slide along Summit Road as well as trash cans and a 50-gallon drum that had blown over.

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