Wind wreaked havoc in north-central Montana Saturday night, with high gusts also recorded near Nye and Livingston in the south and southwestern parts of the state.
High wind warnings remain in effect until 11 a.m. or noon Sunday in all three areas, according to the National Weather Service.
A wind gust of 114 mph was recorded at the Chouteau Airport at between 5 and 6 p.m., said Erik Gustafson, meteorologist with the Great Falls office of the National Weather Service.
The fierce winds destroyed the wind-measuring equipment after that, Gustafson said.
On Saturday night, Teton County Sheriff Keith Van Setten said power was out throughout the town of Chouteau, with trees uprooted and power lines blown down. The Chouteau High boys basketball game ended in the third quarter when the school gym lost electrical power, Van Setten said.
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Downed power poles and power lines also closed Secondary Highway 220, between Chouteau and Conrad Saturday night, Van Setten said.
In Livingston, gusts were reported near 80 mph on Saturday morning and at 77 mph on Saturday night, said Julie Arthur, a meteorologist with the Billings office of the National Weather Service. The only damage appeared to be arcing power lines, said a spokesman for the Livingston Fire Department.
The Stillwater Mine near Nye recorded wind gusts of 90 mph at about 5:30 p.m., Arthur said. As of Saturday night, a dispatcher for the Stillwater Sheriff's Office said no wind damage had been reported to her office.
Arthur attributed the windy conditions to very strong winds high in the atmosphere. A combination of high pressure over northwest Wyoming and a low-pressure trough over Montana combine to create gap-flow winds in the Livingston and Nye areas, she said.
Arthur said the strong winds would continue into Sunday morning and gradually let up in the afternoon.