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Winds begin to blow through northern Utah; 70 mph gusts expected

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue and McKenzie Romero | Posted - Apr 8th, 2013 @ 10:43pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Fierce winds ripped through Davis County late Monday, stirring up bad memories from December 2011, when freakishly strong winds clocked in at hurricane strength.

The winds were expected to continue into Tuesday morning, tapering off into the afternoon.

KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank warned Monday that wind speeds could reach between 60 mph and 80 mph from Bountiful to Ogden, and 40 mph to 60 mph between Brigham City and Draper.

Nearly 2,800 customers were without power for a short time Monday night due to the storm. The outage, which lasted from 8:20 p.m. to 8:55 p.m., was caused by lightning, Rocky Mountain Power spokeswoman Margaret Oler said.

Wind, rain and snow also made travel treacherous. The Utah Department of Transportation required vehicles to have four-wheel drive or to use chains through Big and Little Cottonwood canyons Monday night. A travel advisory was also issued through Tuesday morning for I-15 between Scipio and Cedar City due to heavy road snow.

People with high-profile vehicles, such as truckers, were advised that dangerous crosswinds would impact the I-15 corridor in those areas and other roadways, including U.S. 89, I-80, U.S. 40 and U.S. 6.

Preparing for more wind

Residents were also instructed to exercise caution and secure outdoor objects. The Bountiful Police Department issued advisory asking residents to:

  • Bring grills into the garage.
  • Bring patio furniture indoors.
  • Trim dead wood and weak, overhanging branches from all trees.
  • Secure trampolines by turning them upside down.

Outside objects such as trash cans and holiday decorations — especially inflatables — can become projectiles in high winds.

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"Remember that debris such as broken signs, roofing material and small items left outside become flying missiles during high wind events," the police department warned. "Extensive damage to trees, towers, water and underground utility lines (from uprooted trees), and fallen utility poles can cause further disruption."

Residents should have flashlights, a battery operated radio and spare batteries on hand in case of a power outage, which could hit from Clearfield to Bountiful.

In Centerville, residents know the devastating effects of wind. It took about eight months to recover from the damage caused by the last major wind storm.

To prepare residents, the city's Emergency Operation Center issued an alert message by phone this morning asking people to to tie down lawn furniture, tarps, trampolines and other items that could get blown away and in the process cause damage or injure someone.

"We're just trying to get the message out to folks to batten down the hatches, get things put away," said Assistant Chief Paul Child. "We've also asked them not to put their trash out tonight. Our pick up won't start until 8 a.m., so no need to put the cans out on the curb this evening, and just take some precautions, get ready for some power outages, things like that."


In the meantime, city officials have been told to be by their phones ready to respond if the winds do become a major problem overnight. That includes the school district just in case outages impact classes.

Storm brings snow to other parts of Utah

The winds, which are predicted to stay through Tuesday, are part of the storm that has moved into Utah that will bring up to a foot of new snow in the mountains of northern Utah. 

Utah ski resorts — many of which close for the season Sunday — do not expect to be deterred by the high winds.  

Located in Weber and Morgan counties, Snowbasin saw 3½ inches of snow as of noon, and winds at the top of the mountain reached 26 mph by 1 p.m.  

At 10 a.m., Canyons Resort in Summit County reported it had received 6 inches of snow. By 1:30, 8 inches had accumulated and it was still snowing heavily.

"We're thinking we might be in the range of a foot by the end of the day or evening," said Mike Goar, Canyons Resort's managing director.

Goar said he expects to see an increase of skiers through the week. 

"The timing of this is really terrific to freshen things up and give everyone another shot of powder," he said.

Contributing: Mike Anderson and Devon Dolan


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