Fox News Weather Center

Strong winds to disrupt midweek travel in the West

Following a cool and damp start to the week, Westerners can expect strong winds to precede a period of drier weather.

Californians will be spared from the worst of this wind event, with the exception of those in the Santa Barbara region and San Joaquin Valley.

“A potent storm system diving southward through the West will bring another round of gusty winds to the wind-prone passages, canyons and mountains of California later Tuesday into Wednesday,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda.

The ridges of the Sierra Nevada can experience wind gusts up to 60 mph through Thursday morning.

North winds could spell trouble for Santa Barbara and The Grapevine, where this wind direction often results in damaging wind storms.

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“In areas of California prone to north-south winds, winds will again gust between 40-60 mph, with locally higher gusts possible,” said Sojda.

Often referred to as “Sundowner Winds,” this event will impact north-south oriented passes significantly more than east-west ones usually affected by Santa Ana winds.

Midweek travel along Interstate 5 could prove treacherous for high-profile vehicles as a result.

Increased winds are anticipated to occur elsewhere in addition to parts of coastal Southern California.

“This system also appears to be stronger than the one that moved through the area this past weekend and, as a result, will spread more widespread gusty winds through the Great Basin and Southwest,” said Sojda.

Disruptive winds are in store for areas as far north as eastern Oregon and eastward through New Mexico.

“Especially from southern Nevada through northern Arizona and New Mexico, 50-60 mph winds will be common with gusts to 70 mph possible,” said Sojda.

Such a widespread wind event will disrupt travel for many in the air as well as on the ground.

In addition to airline delays, “travelers throughout the region will have to watch for dangerous conditions due to blowing dust and strong cross winds,” said Sojda.

Residents can expect a heightened risk of sporadic power outages, as well.

In the days leading up to this event, homeowners can proactively prevent wind damage by securing outdoor furniture or moving it indoors.

Warmer, calmer weather is set to return to close out the week.