Tuesday was, in the words of William J. Alder, "a real bad-hair day" for most of Utah. With snow in Nevada and temperatures in the 60s on the Utah side of the border, volatile weather was inevitable.
A vigorous wind system blasted through the state from the west, sprouting a waterspout on Bear Lake, ripping tin from a roof in nearby Garden City, Rich County, and generally trying to blow folks off their feet.Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's headquarters in Salt Lake City, said that an anemometer at the state park on the west side of Bear Lake recorded gusts of 80 mph. Mooring lines snapped and sailboats floated free in the marina.
At the Salt Lake airport, wind gusts reached 56 mph. Logan had huffs of 45 mph; Promontory Point, Box Elder County, 51; Dell on I-80, 60; Dugway, 58; Vernon, Tooele County, 60.
"Down south, in Sevier County, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has a gauge at Signal Peak. They had an 84-mile-an-hour gust," Alder said. Enoch, Iron County - north of Cedar City - was whipped by a blast of 58 mph. Brigham Young University, Provo, had 61. A gust of 67 hit the Tavaputs Mountains in the southern Uinta Basin.
The Bear Lake waterspout was the fifth noticed on that lake since 1950.
"It's been kind of a wild month," Alder added. Tornadoes were reported in Roy, West Point and West Valley City this month, he said. Earlier, another forecaster said the incident at West Point did not involve a tornado but on Wednesday, Alder said it did.