In Minnesota, the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities said a tornado was observed in Plainview. It was the first tornado ever reported in the state during the month of December, according to NOAA data. The storm was moving northeast at 70 mph.
As of 9:20 p.m. EST, there were also 19 reports of possible tornadoes and tornadoes in Iowa and Nebraska, according to the Storm Prediction Center. About 300 reports of strong winds had arrived from the Central Plains and the Midwest.
According to Mayor Kirk Crespin, winds of up to 107 mph in Lamar, Colo., Have overturned semi-trucks, ripped roofs and toppled trees.
âIt was an interesting day here in Lamar, and a record breaking day for the wind,â he said. “The gusts caused considerable damage.”
Crespin said all emergency management workers are up and running and working hard to keep the community safe.
âWe have damage to trees and power lines as well as the internet,â Crespin said. “We are working hard to keep everyone safe.”
Crespin said crews had been out all day trying to clean up the wind damage as well as repair lines and would continue to work all afternoon into the evening.
“We will have a lot of damage to repair when the winds drop,” he said.
Mike Smaldino, chief information officer with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, said sustained winds and gusts have caused significant damage to Colorado Springs.
âThe roof of our own fire department partially exploded,â said Smaldino. “Just as I walked into town, I saw a dozen semi-trucks overturn.”
Smaldino said calls for firefighters have almost quadrupled in the past three hours. “We are facing gas leaks, grass fires from broken power lines and smoldering trees.”
A gas leak at Chapel Hills Mall forced authorities to evacuate the mall. According to Smaldino, the leak has been stopped and the air is being purged.
According to the National Weather Service, several sites, including the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, have reported wind gusts of 100 mph or more.
Hurricane-force gusts of wind have already been recorded in at least nine states as of Wednesday evening.
Strong winds produce dust storm conditions over parts of the plains. Interstate 70 was closed for hours in both directions from the Colorado state border to Russell, Kansas, with sand and dust creating near-zero visibility, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
The weather was so bad at Kansas City International Airport that air traffic controllers were briefly evacuated from their workspace due to “the wind and the fact that it is a glass box 256 feet in. the air, “said airport spokesman Joe McBride.
In New Mexico, Taos County Commissioner Candyce O’Donnell said at least 10 homes were damaged by high winds.
More than 80 million people are on wind alert because of the storm and more than 35 million are on high wind alert, including residents of Denver, Kansas City, Omaha, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago.
At least nine wildfires are burning in northwest and western Oklahoma, according to Keli Cain, public information officer for Oklahoma emergency management.
A red flag warning and a strong wind warning are in effect for several counties, Cain said.
The biggest fire is in Guymon, where there is an evacuation order, according to Cain.
âThe other big problem that we have is just the high winds. We have a strong wind warning that is in effect for several counties as well as in Northwestern Oklahoma. And then we have a wind warning that is in effect for several counties as well as in Northwestern Oklahoma. is in effect for most of the rest of Oklahoma counties, âshe said.
Wind could cause problems with power lines, Cain said, and roof damage has been reported.
Cain noted that “people need to be especially careful with any activities that could start a forest fire because the winds are very, very strong and it can get out of control very quickly.”
In Texas, several hundred people have been ordered to “evacuate or prepare to evacuate” the city of Iowa Park due to two fires, according to Wichita County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Melvin Joyner.
âWe have two separate fires, so they’re trying to contain them, but it’s going to be a bit,â he said. “The fire has changed direction several times, but all we can do is watch.”
Iowa Park is approximately 150 miles northwest of Dallas.
CNN’s Dave Hennen, Raja Razek, and Jenn Selva contributed to this report.