Hurricane force winds wreak havoc in Davis County, cleanup could take days

Published: Thursday, Dec. 1 2011 9:27 p.m. MST

Davis County

There were so many reports of downed trees, power lines and freeway road signs in Davis County that police asked residents to be patient and not to flood the 911 system unless they truly had an emergency.

Bountiful police also encouraged residents in Bountiful, North Salt Lake and Woods Cross to stay off the roads and not travel if it wasn't necessary.

FrontRunner trains were brought to a halt between Layton and Woods Cross because of debris. The Utah Transit Authority reported its Farmington station sustained heavy damage due to high winds.

About 15 light poles were blown over at the Farmington station, some onto the tracks, as well as roofing from the pedestrian bridge at the station, said UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter.

A bus bridge was set up between the affected stations for most of Thursday. By 3 p.m., the debris had been cleared from the tracks and FrontRunner was fully operational again.

In Centerville, where city officials declared a state of emergency, several motorists were pelted on Parrish Lane with debris from damaged buildings and signs.

"I thought a bomb went off in my car," Riley Bergseng said. "It was loud, and I was impacted by a bunch of tempered glass. … I was trying to stay in control. I slowed down, and I saw an exit and boogied off."

Motorist Cory Christian said a rock was flung through his window and hit him in the eye.

"I didn't even know what to think, and the explosion was so loud I couldn't hear," Christian said. "It blew up by my ear, and I couldn't even think."

Centerville spokesman Cory Snyder said police were aware of widespread and significant problems being caused by the wind as early as 5 a.m. By 7 a.m., the city had activated its emergency operations center.

A declaration of emergency was called as a result of traffic concerns and a citywide power outage. None of the traffic signals were working, and stop signs were blown over, Snyder said.

"It made travel difficult and potentially dangerous," he said.

Centerville also activated its reverse 911 system, an automated telephonic system that alerted residents that all schools would be closed.

The city was forced to use a backup power system for its water supply. The emergency declaration allows the city to tap a variety of interlocal agreements with surrounding agencies, if need be, and is the first step for the city to receive any financial support.

Multiple staging areas were set up at parks and churches throughout the city for the collection of green waste debris, such as fallen trees and twigs, Snyder said.

Centerville resident Klaus Mudrow tried to stay upbeat about the situation.

"We're just lucky we don't have tornadoes here," Mudrow said. "What's a few trees compared to looking at the foundation of your home and saying, 'Hey, I used to live here?'"

In Kaysville, wind decimated what is known locally as "Evergreen Strip," where more than a dozen Colorado blue spruce trees were blown over.

Shaun Sackett, with the Kaysville Parks Department, surveyed the old pine trees with remorse.

"It's devastating," said Sackett, who is in charge of doing an inventory of the city's trees.

Kaysville, with its towering ancient pines, is a designated Tree City USA city. Each of its large trees is worth between $8,000 to $10,000, Sackett said.

Down the street, the wind uprooted the 80-foot Christmas tree at City Hall.

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