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Winds buffet Utah, leave hundreds without power in Iron County

Published October 28, 2013 6:48 pm

High Wind Warning • Gusts above 70 mph occurring in some locations.
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Strong winds, hurricane-force in some locales, moved into the region late Monday morning ahead of a mid-week storm system, leaving hundreds of southcentral Utah homes and businesses in the dark.

Strong winds buffeted Iron County, triggering circuit breakers and blowing fuses. Typically in high winds, lines are either blown together into flashing arcs or trees lean onto transmission equipment. The wind gauge hit 71 mph at Cedar City Municipal Airport late Monday morning, the National Weather Service reported.

Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said two primary outages occurred in Cedar City around 9 a.m. About 230 customers were affected when service from the Lone Tree substation went down, but power was restored there by 10:15 a.m.

By the afternoon, about 769 customers in the city lost power because of more high winds, said power company spokesman Jeff Hymas. Some of the same customers from the morning outage may be affected by the afternoon outage, Hymas said. Crews expected to have the problem fixed by 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Two hundred customers were affected when the Enoch substation went down, but service was fully restored as of 4 p.m. said Rocky Mountain Power spokeswoman Maria O'Mara.

Two-foot waves, fed by the winds, also capsized a canoe that a father and teenage son were riding back to shore at Rockport Reservoir in Summit County. Both were wearing life jackets and made it to safety, said Eugene Swalberg, spokesman for Utah State Parks.

On the campus of Southern Utah University the same winds toppled 10 trees, and further south, in St. George, at least one tree was reported down on the Dixie State University campus.

The Cedar City outages may not be the end of wind-related problems. Along with a pocket of central Utah stretching from Price south to Escalante, the western third of Utah began Monday under a High Wind Warning. That advisory, calling for gusts topping 70 mph, was to run through 7 p.m. Monday.

Other areas of the state braced for breezy to gusty weather, too, well into Tuesday afternoon.

Besides Cedar City, the remote Lost Creek area of the central Utah mountains measured gusts of 76 mph, while Deer Valley and the Upper Cedar Mountains reached 72 and 71 mph, respectively.

In Logan, where steady winds near 50 mph were registered, gusts reportedly toppled many of the displays set up for the North Logan Pumpkin Walk. No injuries were reported. But the weather may have contributed to a pole fire that briefly left 2700 customers without power near Logan about 7:20 p.m., O'Mara said. As of 9 p.m., power was restored to all but 471 customers.

Reporters Erin Alberty and Michael McFall contributed to this story.


Twitter: @remims




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