Windstorms hit the southwestern United States

December 2, 2011 – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Strong winds sweeping across New Mexico have resulted in scattered power outages, difficult driving conditions and roof damage that ended classes early at one Valencia County school. The National Weather Service says damaging winds were expected to continue into Thursday evening. Forecasts are calling for gusts of 65 to 75 mph along the Central Mountain chain and to the west.
Students at Valencia High School were sent home early after winds damaged the school’s roof. By late afternoon, Albuquerque police had reports of power outages and down trees around the city but no injuries. State highway officials say strong winds forced a tractor trailer onto its side in northern New Mexico. The winds are expected to die down Friday, but forecasters say parts of western and central New Mexico could see significant snow overnight. –The Republic

Rare event: The storms, described as a once-in-a-decade event, were the result of a dramatic difference in pressure between a strong, high-pressure system and a cold, low-pressure system, meteorologists said. This funnels strong winds down mountain canyons and slopes. The system brought high wind warnings and advisories for California, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. The blustery weather is expected to eventually hit Oklahoma, Missouri and Indiana. –SV Herald