FARMINGTON — Utahns across the state were met by the beginning of a weekend of severe weather Thursday as wind gusts tore across the Wasatch Front, snow began to fall and storms moved in from the south.
A gust reaching 80 mph was one of the highest recorded blasts of the night, ripping through Centerville shortly after 5 p.m., the National Weather Service reported.
With winds whipping across I-15, semitrucks and other high-profile vehicles lined the shoulder between Bountiful and Layton, waiting out a restriction from the Utah Department of Transportation.
The powerful gusts reached 78 mph in Farmington, 61 mph in Bountiful and neared 50 mph in Weber County. Wind damage left more than 8,500 Rocky Mountain Power customers without power at one point in Ogden, as well as about 1,200 customers in Centerville.
The power company estimated electricity would be restored to all Ogden customers by 11:30 p.m. and to all Centerville customers by 2:30 a.m.
The wind was generated in the middle of a high-pressure system in Wyoming and a low-pressure system in southern Utah, a pattern that sends wind rushing through the canyons into the valley, KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank said.
Eubank warned that the sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph would get stronger overnight Thursday and continue through Saturday. He advised homeowners to bring in holiday decorations and patio furniture and prepare their pets for the weather. The strongest gusts will be felt in Davis and Weber counties, he said.
Snow mixed with the wind in Summit County to create blizzard-like conditions Thursday evening for drivers on U.S. 40, Eubank reported, and a storm that will churn across southern Utah for two days moved into St. George. The storm could drop more than a foot of snow in the southern Utah mountains.
Between 4 inches and 8 inches of snow will also accumulate in the Uinta Mountains through Saturday, Eubank said.
In northern Utah, the snow will dissipate, but cold, windy weather will keep temperatures low heading into the weekend. Sunshine will return Sunday and the beginning of next week.