Unusually high winter temperatures and strong winds continue to make their way through the middle of the United States this week. Following the tornadoes in Kentucky that killed 74 people as of Thursday, the country is on high alert for weather-related emergencies. This isn’t exclusive to structures, though.
On Wednesday, authorities in multiple states warned drivers to stay off the road and even issued restrictions that specifically targeted semi-trucks with large boxes and trailers that catch wind like a sailboat.
From Colorado to Michigan, trucks across the country have ended up on their sides.
One such accident was a box truck carrying liquor that experienced a rollover in Jasper County, Missouri. The driver, who police say wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the truck. Local news outlet Four States Homepage reports that the driver sustained serious injuries and needed to be airlifted to a nearby hospital.
Wind-related rollover accidents have actually been quite common over the past few wind-ravaged days. This isn’t the only type of vehicle damage, though. Many large vehicles stayed flat on the ground but still ended up losing against Mother Nature.
One box truck had its roof peeled back like a can of sardines, and a semi parked at what looks like a rest area had its rear tail fairings ripped off while others around it shook from the gusts. A trailer in Colorado Springs even caved in on the side of a highway.
That type of damage is forgivable seeing as large vehicles aren’t exactly easy to stow away in inclimate weather. However, the drivers on the road who ignored or were otherwise unaware of the danger that high winds pose have been getting a not-so-warm reception from the internet.
Some Twitter critics described drivers as wearing a “kick me sign,” or wondered if the drivers just didn’t follow instructions from local weather stations that urged large vehicles to stay off the road during high winds.
On Wednesday, the National Weather Service said a new record was set for the most number of hurricane-force wind gusts with at least 55 separate instances over 75 miles per hour. The previous record was set in 2020 with 53 gusts. This also comes just days after the U.S. saw serious storms in eight separate states, marking the most deadly December on record for tornadoes, according to CNN.
At the time of writing, more than 236,000 Michigan residents are without power according to PowerOutage.US. Wisconsin follows closely with 153,438, Iowa with 47,685, Kansas with 44,240, and Colorado with 28,552. The NWS says that high winds are expected to continue in the Great Lakes region until Thursday afternoon.
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