Tooele City says cleanup following strong winds and snow may take up to a week

Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 19:44:50-05

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- Tooele City said Thursday it could take a week to clean up the damage left scattered across the city after a wind storm whipped through overnight.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Roth said the wind gusts were still too strong when daylight hit Thursday morning.

When it finally died down, a hail storm complete with lightning and thunder moved in, followed by a serious dumping of wet snow.

"Everyone's just trying to work together and help each other out, and get things as back to normal as we can," he said.

Tooele Emergency Management spent the morning taking call after call regarding downed trees and power lines.

Crews spent hours trying to fix power outages.

While they cleared most of the trees out of the streets, they will need to take a chainsaw to them and throw the downed trees and branches into a wood chipper.

One of the hardest areas hit included the Tooele City Cemetery.

"I couldn't believe the damage," said Charles Lawrence, who lives across the street.

The 85-year old man said he couldn't remember a wind storm like this. He went to check on his wife's grave to see if it got hit by any trees.

Luckily, he said, the grave site escaped the fallen mess.

Other residents ended up with much more than downed trees to worry about.

"It must have just kind of cartwheeled over the sheds and landed here," Toby Dillon said, pointing to a trampoline.

He said the trampoline came from his neighbor's yard.

"We sent a message over to them via Facebook to say, 'Hey, check out our new backyard!'" he said with a laugh.

Before anyone had time to clean up from the wind, the cold front encroached on the city.

"It is bad," said Tooele resident Christine Ramos, about the roads. "I'm driving in second gear so I'm not sliding all over. And it's really thick, so it's easy to get stuck in."

The wet, heavy snow quickly stacked up.

Tooele City went from damage control with downed trees to breaking out the plows to clear the streets.

While the snow only lasted a couple of hours, it certainly had a huge impact on the day and all the residents who had to brave the roller coaster weather conditions.

"Wow," Ramos said. "Wow, is all I got to say."