High Winds Rip Apart Four-Ton Horse Trailer in Clark, Blows It Away Like A Tumbleweed

There's windy and then there's "Clark, Wyoming windy." Over the weekend, high wind gusts tore a four-ton horse trailer away from a truck and blew it like a tumbleweed across the Wyoming plains.

Wendy Corr

April 05, 20234 min read

Horse trailer 4 5 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It's the nightmare of everyone who's ever hauled an empty horse trailer or camper - a gust of wind picking up your (expensive) trailer and carrying it away, and possibly taking the truck with it.

Over the weekend, that scenario - sans truck - took place near Clark, one of the windiest places in the state, between Cody and the Montana state line.

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"This 30-foot aluminum stock trailer was blown right off the back of the pickup pulling it down a county road between Cody and Clark WY," was the explanation by ConneXion Livestock, whose customer took a video of the catastrophe on Saturday.

Social media viewers were enthused -- but not surprised -- watching the four-ton trailer roll across the prairie like a tumbleweed.

"Good old Wyoming wind!" wrote one viewer

"At least it landed wheels down," wrote another.

When it finished its tumble across the plains, the trailer looked a bit like a sardine can with the tin cover rolled back.

"The insurance adjuster will have to see to believe," read another comment.

Clark Among Windiest Spots in Wyoming

Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day wasn't surprised that it happened near Clark -- one of the windiest places in Wyoming. He said it gets the strong wind because of its location at the mouth of the Clark's Fork Canyon. 

"The windiest places in Wyoming are what we call it in the wind gaps," Day said. "They are a function of the terrain where the wind will get channeled, or squeezed, so to speak, between ridges or the complex terrain canyons."

Day compared the high winds to someone putting their thumb over the opening of a garden hose.

"When you have a garden hose you let the water out, then you put your thumb on it, it just sprays," Day explained. "So when the air moves east, generally speaking, it gets squeezed through those gaps, and what it does is it accelerates the winds."

Record-setting gusts have been reported in Clark, including a 118 mph gust in Dec. 2021, and an even stronger blast in April of 2022 this one clocked in at 128 mph. 

"That's a north-south road that goes right up against the mountains," Day said. "And there are areas along that road where the canyons west of there just funnel and channel that in."

Not the Only Windy Spot in Wyoming

Day said the windiest spots in Wyoming are generally around the "three Cs" Cody, Casper and Cheyenne.

"Not necessarily those cities specifically, but those areas are where some of the largest mountain gaps are," Day said.

He explained that the majority of the "blow-overs" in the state occur on roads that travel north-south, because the prevailing winds are, most of the time, coming out of the west. 

"So in those areas, vehicles are going to be impacted by those crosswinds, a 90-degree angle on a trailer on a semi or an RV," he said.

There are a couple of bad spots on I-25, he said, particularly just south of Cheyenne around mile marker four, and then the Bordeaux area between Chugwater and Wheatland.

"During certain wind events, you can predict that there's going to be blow overs, and you can pretty accurately say where they're going to happen," said Day. "Now, there's other sections of I-25 that are plenty windy, but that's the worst stretch."

Other areas of the state where wind-related accidents occur fairly regularly include South Pass and Red Canyon, between Lander and Farson, as well as a section of I-80 where the road travels north-south rather than east-west.

"The Arlington - Elk Mountain area probably persistently, in terms of number of days and number of hours where it's the windiest, is probably the windiest," said Day. "There's a series of small mountain ranges north of there, and it's just the perfect terrain setup to cause a tremendous amount of wind."

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Wendy Corr

Broadcast Media Director