Straight Line Winds Believed to be Culprit in Semis Blown Off I-35
Several semis were reportedly blown into the ditch this afternoon between Faribault and Owatonna. The damage around 2:00 p.m. closed roads to non-emergency traffic.
Some power lines were also downed. No official word on the wind speed but unofficially an observer stated to authorities south of Faribault there was a wind gust of 60 mph.
Be very careful when traveling because there could be similar situations in other locations in the area.
If you come across a downed power line please contact Rice-Steele Dispatch Center by calling 911.
Kristen Sailer, Emergency Management Director for Steele County says very little damage has been reported in her county.
Sailer stated they were in the process of getting a couple of the trailers back up along the Rice/Steele County border. She says it appears downbursts from a Severe Thunderstorm was the culprit.
We checked with Rice County Emergency Management and they were assessing the damage. We hope to get a report from them when things are a little less hectic.
Here is what the National Weather Service says about Downbursts from thunderstorms.
(1) The straight-line winds which result from divergent surface outflow have been known to produce tornado force damage up to F3 intensity (Wakimoto 1985), and (2) Sudden, unexpected, and significant loss in altitude by descending aircraft resulting from wind shear cause by downbursts have resulted in numerous aircraft accidents. Although it is difficult to forecast downburst occurrences with any degree of reliability, it is imperative that environments which are conducive to downburst generation be recognized. With a thorough understanding of downbursts, their characteristics, and the environments in which they most often occur, it is possible that forecasters will be able to evaluate and report the potential for downburst occurrences in a given environment. Therefore, although surface damage will usually be unavoidable, injuries, loss of life, and aircraft accidents might be greatly reduced.
Here is some interesting weather reading.