HOUSTON (KIAH) — A very intense area of low pressure and line of severe storms swept across several states Wednesday, bringing widespread hurricane-force winds to much of the central U.S.

In fact, hurricane-force winds stretched for 1,000 miles from the southwest to the mid-west. That means this event brought hurricane-force winds to more areas than any single actual hurricane this year, including major Hurricane Ida.

Hurricane-force refers to the fact that Category 1 hurricane winds are defined as 74 to 95 mph, and category 2 hurricane winds are 96-110 mph.


Widespread power outages, wind damage and dust storms were reported. The image below from NOAA shows the magnitude of Wednesday’s dust storm as it blew through the Plains.

The Storm Prediction Center received more than 500 high wind reports, and there were even 21 tornado reports. It’s possible a tornado occurred in Minnesota. If verified, it would be Minnesota’s first December tornado on record.