Predictable patterns fueled winds that walloped Davis County
CENTERVILLE — The severe wind that toppled large trucks, uprooted trees, downed power lines and sent shingles sailing on Thursday was part of a weather pattern that stretched from Montana to southern California.
The broad scope made its devastating effects easy to predict.
"The computer models — they were spot on for this days ago," said KSL-TV meteorologist Grant Weyman, who explained the formula for the walloping wind storm.
The first indicator was a high pressure system as far north as Montana and low pressure in southern Arizona and California. Air rushing from high to low had Utah caught right in the middle.
Second, high-altitude weather data showed 50- to 60-mph winds at 12,000 feet circling Utah like a hurricane.
Those factors sent wind spilling like a waterfall across the mountains and canyons east of Davis County. Unlike canyon winds that create local gusts at the mouths of individual canyons, the larger weather pattern created down-slope winds that were most intense west of the mouths of the canyons, like along I-15 and the Legacy Highway.
"It's like a wave of wind coming over the mountains," said KSL-TV meteorologist Kevin Eubank. "The bench area was in the tube of the wave, it got wind but avoided the impact. Areas like Centerville and West Bountiful took the brunt of the wave's crash and that's where we had winds of 90- 100 miles per hour and the most sever damage."
Wind in excess of 50 miles an hour was measured through northern Utah and as far south as Leeds, northeast of St. George, between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Thursday. The highest gust was measured in Centerville at 102 mph, with gusts of 83 mph in Farmington and 78 mph in Bountiful. Sustained winds above 74 mph are found in Category 1 hurricanes.
Farther south, the same weather pattern fueled the infamous Santa Ana winds in southern California, causing similar damage and power outages there.
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