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The way it was: Destructive Lander windstorm, 1996
Stephanie Bales of Lander leaned on a large tree that tipped over, its roots lifting her trailer house from its foundation as it fell. She was pictured on April 25, 1996. File photo/Nik Willets

The way it was: Destructive Lander windstorm, 1996

Apr 29, 2012 - Staff

No one who lives in Lander would use "windy" to describe the climate, but residents also know that spring always brings a couple of ferocious windstorms, as weather conditions combine to send wind whipping off the foothills at hurricane force.

One of the worst was in late April 1996, when wind gusting to more than 80 mph tore through Lander on a Wednesday morning. By lunchtime, Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator Dan Shatto estimated that 30 percent of the houses in town had sustained damage severe enough to warrant an insurance claim. A crane was called in to apply weight to the roof of the Lander Apartments on Main Street. Residents were evacuated. The strongest wind gust measured 83 mph at Hunt Field.

Trees toppled by the dozens, doing severe damage in the process. At least three wildfires and one car wreck were attributed to the storm, and an associated power outage affected 1,500 residents, some for as long as eight hours.

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