Microburst storms moving through the Lake Powell area sank three houseboats and pushed several others aground Sunday afternoon, according to reports from the National Weather Service.
Five water skiers who were initially reported missing after the storms were found safe later Sunday evening on a houseboat, to which they had returned when the weather turned bad.William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's Salt Lake office, said wind gusts of up to 81 mph were reported at Bullfrog Marina about 5:35 p.m. A 63 mph gust was recorded a few minutes earlier at nearby Hite Marina. Bullfrog is located about 35 miles north of the Utah-Arizona border.
No serious injuries were reported, although several boaters suffered minor cuts and bruises while trying to keep boats from hitting rocks and other debris, National Park Service rangers reported.
Alder said the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for extreme eastern Kane and southwestern San Juan counties at 5:10 p.m., just before the sudden wind gusts.
Park officials reported swells measuring 6 to 8 feet in height on the main body of the lake during the strongest part of the storm.
In addition to the three boats that sank, one other was swamped at the Bullfrog Marina. The high winds also collapsed a catwalk at the marina. Several smaller boats were also reported swamped by the high waves.
At Halls Creek Bay, six houseboats were pushed aground by the high winds and waves. Two other boats being towed on nearby highways were also damaged by the microbursts.
Alder said the microbursts occurred with a series of thunderstorms passing through the area.
National Park Service rangers were assessing damage at Lake Powell-area facilities on Monday.