Strong winds cause travel troubles, increase fire danger for second day in a row

DENVER -- Strong, gusty winds and low relative humidity caused travel troubles and high fire danger along the Front Range and on the eastern Plains for a second consecutive day Tuesday.

The winds will ramp up throughout the day with gusts up to 45 mph along the Interstate 25 corridor and up to 60 mph on the northeastern Plains, where crews are working to knock down a 30,000-acre brush fire.

Gusts will surge to 100 mph in the high mountains, where a high wind warning is in effect.

There was a peak wind gust of 98 mph on Peak 8 at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Tuesday morning. Stronger gusts were also reported on Berhtoud Pass (81 mph), the summit of Arapahoe Basin (74 mph), Monarch Pass (67 mph) and Genesee (65 mph).

Gusts up to 48 mph were reported at Denver International Airport. On Monday, 517 flights were delayed and 239 flights were canceled because of the wind, forcing some passengers to spend the night at the airport.

More delays were expected throughout the day for arriving and departing flights, airport officials said.

The strong winds blew over two semitrucks on Interstate 25 south of the Wyoming border, the Colorado State Patrol said.

One truck in the northbound lanes blew over three miles south of the border and a second truck tipped over into the median nine miles south of the border, the Colorado State Patrol said. No injuries were reported.

Northbound Interstate 25 was closed at the Wyoming border for about an hour starting at 10:45 a.m. because of the strong winds but it since reopened.

The downsloping winds will increase temperatures to the low 50s across the Front Range. But the low humidity and tinder-dry condition because of the lack of moisture will keep fire crews on alert in eastern Colorado.

Wind speeds will decrease beginning Wednesday with clouds increasing Thursday and Friday.

There is no good chance for precipitation in Denver for at least seven days, only contributing to the growing drought and increased fire danger.