SALT LAKE CITY — George Watanabe said he was rattled when he arrived at the Fort Douglas Post Cemetery Tuesday morning, near the University of Utah and saw the fate of old-growth trees. “To see these trees that are over 100 years old, people that have been buried over 150 years ago, and to see the devastation here was just shocking,” he said.
Strong wind-gusts Monday night and Tuesday morning brought down numerous large trees. Where they landed, some grave markers were smashed as were fences and monuments. Where they were uprooted, the ground near the actual graves was exposed.
Cemeteries are sacred
Watanabe served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Today he is the contractor, charged with caring for the grounds at the cemetery.
“Many of us who are citizens of this country, who have been to a veteran’s cemetery, whether in Europe, or the Pacific, or here in the United States, veteran’s cemeteries are sacred places,” Watanabe said.
The winds continued to howl as Watanabe and his team began to assess the damage to old-growth trees.
Huddling in the basement
A few blocks to the southwest, people who live around the Nibley Park Golf Course were equally surprised, and a bit unsettled by the power of the winds. Trees and branches filled the fairways at the course. Next door, Bob Waters and his family huddled in the sub-basement of their home during the worst of the storm. “The wind gusts were rather extreme. They were punching into the side of the house,” said Walters. He said they listened as the wind eventually began peeling shingles from the roof. And they watched as they flew through the back yard.
Trees take the brunt
Not far away, at Fitts Park in South Salt Lake, barriers were put up at park entrances, old and new trees were uprooted, one landing on a fence near the playground.
Fitts Park in South Salt Lake was closed Tuesday morning, as crews assessed the damage from high winds. Just to the west of the park, a large spruce tree fell, nearly swallowing an entire car.
There were similar scenes throughout the area. Many streets were closed Tuesday morning, as police guarded areas where downed power lines lay on the ground.
Today’s Top Stories
- Rob Bishop suddenly resigns from Utah Redistricting Commission
- Extreme couponers were sent to prison in $31.8 million fraud scheme
- 4 African lions at Utah’s Hogle Zoo test positive for COVID-19 Delta Variant
- Utah app “pirate” turns out to be wanted man from Indiana
- $24 billion in goods is floating outside California’s biggest ports
- Great Salt Lake dust could be toxic, bad for snow season
- Hospitals in need of crutches/canes across Utah, donations needed
- Ogden police investigating death of 41-year-old man
- Logan coffee shop offers help to those experiencing mental health crisis
- Police: 2 die, 4 injured in Idaho mall shooting