High-speed wind gusts cripple traffic across the Panhandle - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

High-speed wind gusts cripple traffic across the Panhandle

People of the Panhandle are not unfamiliar with high winds. But Wednesday's 50 to 60 mile per hour gusts were not just frustrating, they were dangerous.

Long time truck driver Brian Coursey made the dangerous drive from Amarillo to Lubbock Wednesday, fighting the wind and dirt the whole way.

"It's kind of like a boat in the water, yeah you can feel it," said Coursey. "Conditions aren't good, the truck blows around a lot."

The Texas Department of Transportation urged all drivers to avoid driving on I-27 between Amarillo and Lubbock due to near zero visibility conditions.

"That harvested land where the dirt is sitting there after the harvest, is going to blow," said TxDOT Spokesperson Paul Braun. "We really need to watch out for that and that's probably out biggest concern is the visibility issue."

But concerns didn't end at visibility, truck drivers like Coursey actually have to worry about blowing over.

"There's also a danger with high profile vehicles in this kind of weather where they could be affected by the wind especially if they're traveling on I-40 east or westbound with that south wind coming in that could be very dangerous," said Braun.

"If cars would just stay in front or behind and not ride right beside us," advised Coursey. "That's probably the worse thing because it gets to blowing around and you've got to watch them.

Experienced truck drivers said it's even more dangerous driving in high winds when they're carrying a light load or nothing at all.

"They need to know what's in their vehicle, how their vehicle is being affected by the wind," added Braun.

All factors Coursey had taken into consideration and was ready to respond if necessary.

"We're just going to go down the road a little ways and if it gets real bad we'll pull over and go to bed for a little while until it clears up," said Coursey.

The high winds were expected to die down late into the night, and driving conditions should be back to normal sometime after midnight.

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