The storm moved through central and southern Montana, causing severe thunderstorms. These storms contributed to the accident on the freeway that resulted in the deaths of six people.
At least six people have died and several more injured after a dust storm caused a pileup Friday evening on Interstate 90 in Montana, authorities said. https://t.co/8Ae5VMNyMM— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 16, 2022
What happened ?
According to the authorities, a dust storm in Montana that was propelled by wind gusts that reached up to 60 miles per hour caused a pileup on Friday evening on Interstate 90, resulting in six individuals’ deaths.
Twenty-one vehicles were involved in collisions, and according to Sgt. Jay Nelson of the Montana Highway Patrol, investigators believe the weather was a contributing factor.
“It would appear that there were strong gusts, which caused a dust storm that resulted in complete lack of visibility, “he remarked.
Nelson reported that more ambulances from Billings had to be called in to assist, even though the highway patrol did not have a quick tally of the number of injured people.
On Twitter, Governor Greg Gianforte expressed his feelings over the recent news of a tragedy that resulted in multiple deaths near Hardin. I ask that you join me in prayer for the victims and the loved ones of those who were lost. We are thankful to those who serve in our first responder organizations.”
“The Montana Highway Patrol is on the site with other first responders and investigating the event,” said Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who heads the highway patrol in Montana, in a statement. We will provide additional material as it becomes accessible and deemed appropriate out of respect for the lives lost and the loved ones of those who were lost.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by the awful events in Big Horn County today due to the dust storm, “Knudsen stated.
The incident took place approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) to the west of Hardin. Hundreds of tractor-trailers, campers, and cars were backed up for miles along the two eastbound lanes of the interstate, as seen in a video published by The Billings Gazette.
According to Nick Vertz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Billings, the dust storm’s origins can be traced back several hours, when storms began to pop up in central southern Montana between 1 and 2 p.m. and slowly began moving eastward. This occurred between 1 and 2 p.m.
A watch for severe thunderstorms was issued for Hardin and the surrounding area on Friday from the middle of the afternoon until nine o’clock at night due to the storms. Meteorologists projected a chance of sporadic hail up to the size of a quarter, widespread wind gusts of up to 75 miles per hour (121 kilometers per hour), and consistent lighting.
An “outflow” is sometimes used, “which refers to a surge of wind that is produced by storms but can travel faster than them, flew east/southeast approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) ahead of the storms, according to Vertz.
At 4:15 p.m., the adjacent Big Horn County Airport noted a gust of wind reaching 40 mph (64 kph). At 4:28 p.m., the collision was reported to the highway patrol.
The gusts increased to 62 mph when the airport weather station’s next reading came in at 4:35 p.m. (100 kph). Twenty minutes later, a different measurement revealed a gust of 64 mph (103 kph).
Because of recent high temperatures in the 90s and triple digits over the past week, the dust was easily picked up by the wind, which resulted in visibility being reduced to less than a quarter of a mile (0.4 kilometers).
“If they looked up in the sky while they were in Hardin, they most likely did not see very much of what you would think of as a thunderstorm cloud, or maybe even very little of it at all, ” “Vertz said. “There was just a sudden gust of wind that seemed to come out of nowhere,” she said.
The meteorologist told the first responders that they should not have to worry about being exposed to any further wind or thunderstorm activity while they work to clear the debris from the scene.
“It should be a reasonably clear night for them, and they shouldn’t have too many worries,” “he said.