Remembering When Hurricane-Force Winds Hit No. Utah In September

Dec 26, 2020, 9:16 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2022, 10:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — September 8, 2020 is a day many will remember for a long time here in Utah. That’s the day hurricane-force winds ripped through the northern part of the state. Nearly 200,000 Utahns lost power, hundreds of trees were uprooted and one person was killed.

The relentless winds, which raged for hours, caused widespread damage.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before, it’s crazy!” said a Stanford athlete who was training in the Beehive State when the winds hit.

From the Utah-Idaho border to the Salt Lake Valley, trees uprooted and snapped, leaving destruction to the landscape.

Landmark areas like the State Capitol, Liberty Park and Hogle Zoo all took a beating, not to mention the homeowners that found their yards left in shambles.

Dozens of 100-year-old trees at Liberty Park were no match for the downslope winds that pummeled through the area.

Months later, new trees were planted to replace some of those that were lost. It will most likely be years, even decades, before there’s no sign of what happened that day.

“We know that this is a generational storm and the impacts and the face of Salt Lake City will be different for the rest of our lifetimes,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “We’ve lost somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand trees or more.”

In Davis County, residents spent days clearing yards. They experienced similar conditions in 2016, but not to this extent.

A record 45 semis toppled on Utah highways, prompting the closure of I-15 and other roadways.

Then there were the power outages.

“We understand how frustrating it is for those customers who are still without service. We are truly sorry for the time it has taken to repair the damage and restore service,” said Gary Hoogeveen, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power.

TRAX lines were out of service due to the outage and, at the peak of the storm, nearly 200,000 families lost power — some didn’t get power back for days. It became a big problem for families who had children in the Salt Lake City School District as they were 100% remote due to COVID.

“The most difficult thing right now has got to be school. Salt Lake School District is 100% online and we lost our internet,” said a parent.

Officials South Salt Lake, Salt Lake City and Centerville declared states of emergency.

Flights were cancelled.

Days later, life was mostly back to normal, but that day goes down as one that Utahns won’t soon forget.

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Remembering When Hurricane-Force Winds Hit No. Utah In September