The wind speed on North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) stations measure wind speed at 10 feet (3 meters). Airport sensors measure wind speed at 33 feet (10 meters). That height difference is notable when measuring wind strength as the lower level wind speed is slowed down by fictional forces. The difference between those two heights will vary based on many factors. This is mentioned because wind speed maximums this weekend were notably different from NDAWN sensors to near by airports.
On March 29, a mid-latitude cyclone (low pressure) moved across North Dakota from the western part of the state up into southern Canada. Strong high pressure centers on either side of the low produced a tight pressure gradient with the corresponding strong wind. First from the south, then from the northwest.
That transition on late Saturday into Sunday morning from a southern wind to a northwest wind (cold front) also triggered off some thunderstorms. The combination of the thunderstorms as well as the strong pressure gradient already in place produced some very high wind gusts from 6:00 PM Saturday through approximately noon on Sunday.
The maximum wind speed from both Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30, 2015 are presented below.
Wind speed exceeding 50 mph at several NDAWN weather stations during that time frame. But several airport sensors measuring wind speeds at a much higher level recorded wind speeds exceeding 60 mph. There was some reports of damage associated with the strong wind.