The summer's most severe thunderstorms roared across the Wasatch Front Wednesday, wreaking havoc in communities from Cache to Utah counties.
The storm ripped siding off of buildings, downed power lines and hospitalized one Murray teenager, who was struck by lightning.Chris Hansen, 15, was listed in serious but stable condition Thursday morning in the University Medical Center burn unit. He was expected to go home either today or tomorrow, a hospital spokesman said.
Hansen was walking to his grandparents' home near 5622 S. Walden Glen Drive (1230 West) at 6 p.m. when the lightning hit, said Capt. Bill Brass of the Salt Lake County Fire Department.
The strike, which was one of 12,980 strikes across the state Wednesday, burned holes into the sidewalk the boy was walking on.
Primarily affecting Weber, Davis, Cache, Box Elder and Salt Lake counties, the storms hit about 3 p.m. and had moved through the area by about 8 p.m, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Alder said.
"We had a very unstable air mass over the area; we knew it was going to be a wild afternoon," Alder said. "I'd say it was the most severe weather we've had all summer."
This type of weather is not out of the ordinary for Utah in summer, Alder said, although normally, the strongest storms are in late May and June.
More thunderstorms are forecast for the weekend, but they are not expected to pack much of a punch, he said.
"They'll be more of your garden variety, lighter stuff, not your gulley-washers like we had Wednesday," Alder said.
Other weather-related problems caused by Wednesday's storm, according to the National Weather Service:
- In Layton, 1.05 inches of rain fell in 20 minutes. A number of basements in homes along Kays Creek experienced flooding or backed-up sewers. Three feet of water was reported on the road.
And wind gusts of up to 75 mph also blew out the windows of a camper.
- In Ogden, 30,000 people were without power when at least a dozen major circuits were hit, said Margaret Kesler, spokeswoman for Utah Power. Crews worked all night to restore power, but some residents were without electricity until Thursday morning. The outages also caused traffic lights to lose function all along Wall Avenue.
Along the Ogden bench as much as 1.25 inches of rain fell within 30 minutes. Floodwaters in the area forced the closure of offramps from I-15 to 24th Street.
Southeast of Hill Air Force Base, 60-mph winds ripped the siding off of an office building, ripped the shingles off several roofs and sent tree limbs 10 inches in diameter into the streets.
- Lightning was to blame for a fire that caused $10,000 in damage to a home at 1810 E. 3900 South in Holladay. The 71-year-old owner was just arriving home when lighting bolts struck to the east and west of the house. When he went inside, he smelled smoke and discovered fire in the attic. The house will probably need a new roof, Brass said.
- Hail an inch in diameter covered the ground 2 inches thick at Promontory Point in Box Elder County.
- Clearfield also experienced 60- mph winds, and Kaysville got almost an inch of rain over 30 minutes.
- Penrose, 20 miles west of Brigham City, reported hail the size of golf balls at 6 p.m.
- Utah County was also walloped by 40-mph winds, but no serious injuries or damage were reported.
The most severe impact was in American Fork where marble-sized hail fell and rainstorms triggered several small mud slides. Mud and rocks were swept into the road, forcing the temporary closure of eastbound U-92.
Springville saw .62 inches of rain, and .18 inches fell in Lehi over a 10-minute period.
"It was quite a day," Alder said. "I'm sure we made a mess out of everybody's gardens . . . and just when everything was getting ripe."