Crazy weather: 64 mph gusts wreak havoc
Stormfront knocks out power in Manti and Ephraim,
uproots trees, triggers huge dust devils in Gunnison
By Robert Stevens
Extreme weather rocked Sanpete County over the weekend, leaving damage in its wake and leaving a big chunk of the county without power for hours.
The first, and perhaps the worst, of the weather hit on Friday, when high winds, hail, thunder and lightning hit the area. Although the thunder, lightning and hail were dramatic, the wind was unusually strong.
In Manti, sustained winds of 50 mph, with gusts topping more than 64 mph, caused the most damage as the storm travelled north. One of the oldest and largest trees in the Manti Cemetery was ripped from the ground during the heavy wind.
The winds on Friday also knocked down five 46,000 volt power transmission poles along the west road between Manti and Ephraim, cutting power delivery from Salina to Moroni. It took Rocky Mountain Power working into the night to restore it, and some residents of Central Sanpete didn’t have power back until the morning.
In Gunnison, the storm front and accompanying winds spawned several very large dust devil twisters. Shelly Anderson saw the dust devils, which towered hundreds of feet tall as they swirled underneath clouds near the Gunnison High baseball fields.
“I opened the door to let in my panicking cats and the wind almost smacked the door in my face while I stood in shock as two huge dust devils spun around each other traveling north,” Anderson says. “The sound of the wind was almost unbearable and like a train rushing by. I raced to grab our stuff flying across the road, grabbed the last cat and ran inside the house.”
A large tree in the Mayfield Cemetery was toppled from the heavy winds.
Aaron Peterson, Mayfield Town council member over the cemetery announced on social media, “The town of Mayfield is closing the cemetery temporarily until the high winds calm down to safer levels. We have some other trees that are of concern as well, and this tree was actually not one of them.”
In Ephraim, the winds came with lots of hail, and reports were made of car windshields smashed by flying debris, and trampolines sent flying down the block and into other neighborhoods.
In Mt. Pleasant, the wind tore the roof off one house and across the entire county tree limbs and debris crashed down and began to clog the sewer drains, resulting in some areas receiving minor drainage flooding.
Over the next few days the wind, rain, hail and lightning would come and go but never quite as strong as on Friday, or doing as much damage.
To top it all off, on Monday it snowed in several towns, including Manti and across several North Sanpete municipalities.