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DES MOINES, IOWA — Central Iowa is set to experience a highly unusual high wind event starting at noon Wednesday through midnight.

An exceptionally strong area of low pressure will be lifting out of Colorado today and crossing Nebraska and into western Iowa by nightfall. Ahead of this storm system, the rapidly dropping pressure will create strong winds with gusts in excess of 50 mph during midday. Some wind gusts could easily exceed 60 mph or even 80 mph by tonight.

Wind gusts may drop briefly during the mid-evening hours as a cold front crosses the state. This front will trigger thunderstorm development, some of which could continue to produce severe wind gusts that much of the state may have already been experiencing during the afternoon.

In addition, storms could produce tornadoes, which would likely be extremely fast-moving, and with early sunsets, occurring in the dark.

The greatest risk for severe storms develops around 4 PM and will be exiting Central Iowa to the east by 9 PM.

Behind the cold front, wind gusts will again rapidly increase, once again producing speeds of 55 to 80 mph through at least midnight.

The extreme strength and duration of these winds will likely lead to power outages, tree damage, and potentially structural failures. Outdoor activities, particularly in the afternoon or evening should be strongly reconsidered, as well as any outdoor work.

Weather Tools

Travel could also be severely impacted, especially for semis and other high-profile vehicles, including school buses.  Keep your 13WarnMe app handy to get the latest forecast, and automatic warnings on what is likely to be a rapidly changing situation Wednesday evening over much of Central and NW Iowa.

The wind speeds will also aid in setting records on the temperature side. Highs throughout Central Iowa will likely set records with plenty of room to spare. The forecasted high of 71° for Des Moines would not only break the daily record high, but would also be the first time on record with a 70-degree December temperature in Des Moines.