High winds batter Colorado, Fort Collins: Here's what we know about top wind speeds so far

Key points we'll cover in this story about high winds in Colorado and Fort Collins:

  • What's behind the strong wind in Fort Collins and Colorado

  • Peak wind gusts in Fort Collins, statewide for latest event

  • All-time highest wind speeds in Fort Collins

If you were awakened by the wind Thursday night or woke up Friday morning to find a Santa and his reindeer display in your yard that wasn't there when you went to bed, there is good reason.

A high wind warning was issued for Fort Collins and much of the northeast quarter of the state until 5 p.m. Friday.

Here's what to know about high winds in Fort Collins (and other weather developments in our area) on Friday, Dec. 2.

High wind warning for Fort Collins, winter storm warning for western Larimer County

Fort Collins and much of the northeast quarter of the state is under a high wind warning until 5 p.m. Friday with wind 35 mph to 45 mph and gusts to 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

This can result in difficult driving conditions, especially for high-profile vehicles; downed power lines; large tree branches snapping; and unsecured objects being blown around.

Western Larimer County, including Cameron Pass and Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as other northern mountain areas are under a winter storm warning until 5 p.m. Friday with up to a foot of snow possible and wind gusting to 75 mph. Expect difficult driving conditions in those areas.

There were several reported incidents of wires being down, according to the PulsePoint app late Thursday night and early Friday morning, but no reported major outages.

A snow squall warning also was issued for Wellington to the Wyoming border Friday morning due to heavy blowing snow that created whiteout conditions along Interstate 25.

What's causing these strong winds

National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Hiris said on Friday that strong westerly winds were creating a mountain wave where those strong winds gain speed as they rush down from the high mountain peaks to the foothills, Interstate 25 corridor and out onto the Eastern Plains.

"The worst is over as we are already starting to see the mountain wave break down, but it will remain really breezy the rest of Friday,'' Hiris said Friday morning.

"It's the windiest we have seen this season, but it is not atypical to see these kinds of winds fall into winter and in the spring," Hiris added.

Fort Collins, Larimer County see strongest wind gusts since last spring

Hiris said the city's highest reported gust of 65 mph was reported at Christman Field in northwest Fort Collins at 3:45 a.m. Friday.

It was the city's highest gust since early April 2022, when a gust of 51 mph was recorded at Christman Field.

Hiris said a 55 mph gust was reported at Rolland Moore Park in the early morning.

Larimer County's highest gust was 84 mph at Green Mountain north of Livermore Lakes early Friday morning, Hiris said. It was the county's highest gust since that April 2022 windstorm produced a 75 mph gust at Buckeye near Wellington.

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Here's a look at some of the top wind speeds around Colorado

  • National Center for Atmospheric Research lab (Boulder): 90 mph

  • Rocky Flats (Intersection of Colorado highways 93 and 72 north of Golden): 89 mph

  • Livermore (Green Mountain): 84 mph

  • Boulder (Fairview): 72 mph

  • Berthoud Pass: 68 mph

  • Fort Collins (Christman Field): 65 mph

  • Aurora: 64 mph

  • Loveland: 60 mph

  • Virginia Dale: 59 mph

  • Fort Collins (Rolland Moore Park): 55 mph

  • Longmont: 54 mph

  • Castle Rock: 55 mph

Source: National Weather Service

Latest wind storm doesn't come close to producing highest wind recorded in Colorado

Colorado’s unofficial highest recorded wind gust is 201 mph atop 14,259-foot Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. There also was a gust reported at 148 mph in February 2016 on Monarch Pass. The state doesn't keep official wind records.

Highest wind speeds ever recorded in Fort Collins

  1. 84 mph: Dec. 30, 2008

  2. 77 mph: Nov. 18, 2015

  3. 72 mph: April, 8, 1999

  4. 72 mph: Dec. 15, 2021

  5. 70 mph: Nov. 2, 2018

More: Snowfall totalsColorado snow totals for latest storm: Fort Collins receives about 4 inches

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Hurricane-force wind batters Colorado: Here were some of the top gusts