Governor Confirms Mass Casualty Crash on Highway; Freakish Weather Blamed

Six people have died after extreme winds in Montana caused a dust storm, leading to a pile-up on Friday evening. There were 21 vehicles involved in the crash on Interstate 90 outside of Hardin, Highway Patrol Sgt. Jay Nelson said, the Associated Press reported. “It appears as though there was heavy winds, causing a dust storm with zero visibility,” he said. While six died, highway patrol did not yet have an immediate count of the number of injuries. Even the Governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, expressed his shock at the incident. “I’m deeply saddened by the news of a mass casualty crash near Hardin. Please join me in prayer to lift up the victims and their loved ones. We’re grateful to our first responders for their service,” he tweeted. Highway Patrol has been investigating the incident. “The Montana Highway Patrol is on the scene with other first responders and investigating the incident. We will release more information as it becomes available and is appropriate out of respect of the lives lost and their loved ones,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said. The build-up to the dust storm and extreme winds had actually started hours before the crash, as storms popped up in central southern Montana in the early afternoon. Those storms and effects then began to move east, Nick Vertz, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Billings told the AP. Originally, the weather service expected severe thunderstorms in the Hardin area. But then winds suddenly picked up. “If they looked up in the sky while they’re in Hardin, they probably didn’t see much of what you’d think of for a thunderstorm cloud, maybe not even much at all,” Vertz said. “It was just a surge of wind that kind of appeared out of nowhere.” A video taken by a driver shows part of the crash and the miles-long backup. [firefly_embed]   [/firefly_embed] This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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