Officials prepare for 'dangerous' windstorm

Apr 8 2013 - 9:51pm

Images

Map of extreme wind areas.
Map of high wind and blowing snow areas.
Map of extreme wind areas.
Map of high wind and blowing snow areas.

The windstorm forecasted to hit the Wasatch Front late Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning is being called "dangerous," by law enforcement officials.

"It is a dangerous storm," said Centerville Assistant Police Chief Paul Child.

Utah Department of Transportation is expecting the gusts of winds to be between 70 mph to 90 mph between midnight and 4 a.m. Tuesday in Davis and Weber counties.

Residents in Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties can expect high winds, bringing power outages and poor traveling conditions from about 3 p.m. Monday to 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Centerville city officials still remember what Mother Nature did on Dec. 3, 2011, when wind gusts of more than 100 mph toppled trees, ripped off roofs and tossed trampolines.

Residents have received calls, as well as tweets about what they need to do to keep their homes and property safe in the next 24 hours, Child said.

The city also called its trash pickup provider and are asking residents not to put their trash cans out Monday night, but Tuesday morning. The trash pickup will begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday, instead of 6 a.m., Child said.

The differences between the storm that is coming in and the storm of 2011 are how strong the wind will be and how long the storm will last, said Glen Merrill, forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Merrill said the winds should start calming down sometime after 10 a.m. Tuesday, although, "it will still be windy and gusty, but not at the level expected during the night."

The winds are expected to last until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Travel along Interstate 15, Interstate 84, and U.S. Highway 89 in Box Elder, Davis and Weber counties will be impacted by the windstorm, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.

Utah Highway Patrol Corporal Todd Johnson said troopers are prepared for the high winds. Troopers who normally have Monday and Tuesday off have been put on stand-by and will step in if needed.

And they are also prepared to close down the interstates and highways if the winds are dangerous enough to topple over large vehicles, like semitrailers.

Davis School District is also prepared to act if the windstorm is too dangerous for travel, said Christopher Williams, the district's spokesman.

When the 2011 windstorm hit, the district did not have a policy to deal with windstorms, he said. Now it does.

And school officials will meet at 5 a.m. Tuesday to make a decision on whether or not schools will be open, closed, or start later on Tuesday, he said.

Information will be posted on the district's website for parents, students and district employees. The media will also receive information to post on school closures, Williams said.

The district will also post information on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Weber State University officials are also monitoring the storm and will send out notices to students and employees if there is a need to close the Ogden and the Davis campuses, said Allison Barlow-Hess, the university spokeswoman.

Rocky Mountain Power is closely monitoring the weather forecast and have put five times the number of personnel on call than normal in case they are needed to help repair power outages during the night and on Tuesday, said Margaret Oler, spokeswoman for the company.

For more information about the storm and for travel, go to UDOT's website at to www.udot.utah.gov. Motorists may also stay informed by downloading the UDOT Traffic App for smart phones and following UDOT on Facebook at www.facebook.com/utahdot or on Twitter at twitter.com/UtahDOT.

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