Devastating winds overturn multiple semi-trucks on HWY 14/395

Devastating winds overturn multiple semi-trucks on HWY 14/395By Laura Austin, The News Review

The Indian Wells Valley (IWV) no doubt resembled the Dust Bowl of the 1920’s on Monday as unusually high winds with gusts of upwards of 80 mph wreaked havoc here. The winds caused the overturning of approximately nine high-profile vehicles, some of which blocked the roadway, temporarily closing State Route 14 from the junction of State Route 178 W to the junction of U.S. 395, AND U.S. 395 from the junction of State Route 14 to the Inyo/Kern County Line according to Caltrans District 9.

The low-pressure weather system that moved into the Indian Wells Valley prompted officials with the National Weather Service to issue a wind advisory and a Red Flag Warning. The weather service noted that the front is moving in from Northern California and the strongest winds will be in the Kern County mountains and the Kern desert areas, including Grapevine, Tehachapi and Walker passes.

Blowing dust and sand lowered visibility and increasing particulate matter 10 microns or smaller, (PM10) in the air, creating hazardous breathing conditions, especially for those with lung conditions.

The valley suffered minor damages such as blown out signs of local businesses, broken tree limbs, minor residential property damage and overturned shed-like structures.

Ridgecrest Police and Kern County Fire responded to a two vehicle accident. Strong gusts of wind were a contributing factor. First responders noted that visibility at the time of collision was reported as being near zero as a result of the wind and sand. All occupants of the Ridgecrest accident suffered minor injuries.

Tidbits related to “Termination Winds” were provided by local historian Liz Babcock

From the History of the Navy at China Lake, Volume 4, by Cliff Lawson.

“New hires and their families soon learned about the tales of “termination winds.” They are foundational to the folklore of China Lake.”

Al Boyack, who came to work at NOTS in 1945 and retired 61 years later recalled, “They always talked about the termination winds, and people would come in and go to work, and the wind would blow, and they’d leave and not even come back for their pay or anything. They’d terminate by mail.” S-235, Robert A. “Al” and Darlene Boyack interview, 6 July 1994.

Laura Austin Photo — Stand storms obscure the IWV skies due to high winds that overturned at least nine vehicles on Highways 14 and 395 Monday.

Story First Published: 2021-10-15