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It’s Not Just Snow That Makes Big Rigs Dangerous In High Country

By Matt Kroschel

GEORGETOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – When the wind blows it can cause major problems for drivers along Interstate 70 in the mountains.

The Colorado Department of Transportation battles Mother Nature every day, and the winds and top-heavy tractor-trailers don’t mix well.

“We deal with Mother Nature,” said CDOT Incident Manager Mark Hanschmidt. “This is nothing what we’re doing right now but some of those strong gusts, that are out of the blue, will knock you off your feet.”

CDOT utilizes dozens of small weather stations placed along that stretch of road to give them real-time data, but with the dynamic conditions they face up there, it’s no easy task.

image1 Its Not Just Snow That Makes Big Rigs Dangerous In High Country

(credit: Colorado State Patrol)

Weather stations take real-time data allowing CDOT to post wind advisories like they did Sunday — and warnings that block big rigs from moving through the area until the winds die down.

“Right now whenever there is a sustained gust or wind 60 mph, we do put the restrictions in place,” said Hanschmidt. “Otherwise, like today, we don’t have those 60 mph gusts but we do have a wind advisory.”

Just last week a toppled truck smashed a small car. The parents and their two children remarkably avoided injury.

“When the gust of wind got a hold of that trailer, it jackknifed, twisted and then rolled over on to the Volvo station wagon,” said Hanschmidt.

RELATED: WATCH: Wind Blows Truck On Top Of Highway Patrol Car

The Georgetown area remains a major trouble spot, expect more wind-forced closures for truckers and delays for drivers as spring blows through.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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