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Boaters on Utah Lake rescued during severe thunderstorm watch


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SALT LAKE CITY — A severe thunderstorm watch in place for northern Utah Friday evening expired at 11 p.m., after two groups of boaters had to be rescued on Utah Lake during the storm.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for southeastern Tooele County until 11 p.m. The warning was in effect for eastern Utah County until 7 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm can produce damaging winds in excess of 60 mph and hail larger than one inch in diameter. Intense lightning was occurring with Friday's storm, according to a warning sent out by the National Weather Service.

A severe thunderstorm watch was in place Friday evening for northern Utah and parts of Idaho and Wyoming. A storm in Weber and Davis counties was expected to produce winds in excess of 70 mph.

A thunderstorm watch means there is the potential for damaging weather including high winds and hail, according to the weather service.

A storm in Utah County caught several boaters off guard at Utah Lake at about 6:30 p.m. Two boats got stuck to one another in the rush to get to shore and began taking on water, according to Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

"One of the boats got a rope wrapped around the prop, another boat came in to help, the rope that was in the water from the first boat got tangled around the prop on the second boat," he said.

Winds came in from the west over Utah Lake at greater than 60 mph.

"Boats coming into American Fork Harbor had to wait before they could get off the water, because the winds were too strong to bring them back into the marina," Cannon said.

The boats at Lincoln Beach could not get to the marina, so they called 911. Utah County Sheriff's Deputies arrived by boat from Provo Harbor within minutes. Other sheriff's officials on jet skis brought the stranded boaters to shore.

The NWS also issued a tornado warning for southeastern Bannock County in Idaho, near Interstate 15 just north of the Utah-Idaho border. The warning expired Friday at 6:45 p.m. without incident.

Contributing: Andrew Wittenberg

Top image credit: Michelle Schwarz

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