One-year anniversary of destructive downslope Utah windstorm

Sep 8, 2021, 5:04 PM
utah windstorm strong winds...
FILE: Downed tree on the west side of the Utah State Capitol building after a massive downslope windstorm blew through Salt Lake County on Sept 8, 2020. Photo: Nick Wyatt, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Today marks one year since an early-morning downslope Utah windstorm wreaked havoc in Weber, Davis, and Salt Lake Counties

Many people woke up on Sept 8, 2020, to find their power was out. As they drove into work, they noticed countless trees ripped from the ground at their roots. Closed roads made the commute a nightmare. 

Approximately 4,500 trees were uprooted by the 99 mile-per-hour winds. Close to 200,000 people were without power. The devastation closed several major roadways. 

Former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency for Utah on September 10 and many mayors did the same for their cities. 

What’s a downslope windstorm? 

Downslope windstorms are an uncommon phenomenon. Essentially, it starts when cold air accumulates in Wyoming and pushes over the Uinta Mountains. 

“The Uinta Mountains help to focus those strong winds from that cold air over the Wasatch and down into Weber, Davis, and Salt Lake counties,” said Christine Kruse, lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service Salt Lake City.

Those strong winds combined with the existing wind along the Wasatch Front. This combination created a windstorm of the likes we have not seen since 2011

Complicating matters further, the windstorm hit early in the year. Many of the big trees which later ended up on their side still had most of their leaves. 

“If you think about those strong winds hitting those trees with those leaves, it’s like a sail. It’s going to pull even more trees down,” Kruse said. 

What about this year? 

Christine Kruse said weather patterns are very different this year. She explained we are not getting any early cold fronts. In fact, another period of excessive heat is here for the next several days. 

Fortunately, the National Weather Service is skilled at predicting such weather events. 

“You can see those ingredients sometimes 2, 3, even 4 days out. You can start to say ‘there’s a threat of this coming, get prepared,” said Kruse. 

She said downslope windstorms are possible again this year. However, the strength of last year’s is very unlikely. 

Today’s Top Stories


Soon we will know more about the trail of destruction Hurricane Ian has left behind in southwest Fl...
Judson Jones, CNN Meteorologist

Ian isn’t over. Here’s where the storm goes next

Hurricane Ian isn't finished yet. Where is the storm headed to next?
9 hours ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...

Ian returns to hurricane status, meanwhile floods trap many in Florida

Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean.
1 day ago
People at the BYU game in Florida dealing with rain....
Adam Small

Chance of thunderstorms Thursday could affect BYU game

BYU faced difficult weather during its game in Florida, and now the weather might be messing with tonight's game against the Aggies.
1 day ago
Utahns head to Florida to aid in relief from Hurricane Ian....
Aubri Wuthrich

Utahns volunteer with American Red Cross to aid hurricane evacuees in Florida

The American Red Cross has volunteers on the ground in Florida to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
1 day ago
Hurricane Ian flooding in Naples, Florida....
Amir Vera, Eric Levenson, Jason Hanna and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Hurricane Ian weakens to Category 3 after making landfall in Florida, but officials warn the worst is yet to come

Hurricane Ian has weakened to a Category 3 storm hours after pummeling southwestern Florida Wednesday, but officials are warning people to stay inside as the worst of the storm is still on the way.
2 days ago
utah NWS warnings...
Mark Jones

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Davis and Weber counties

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of Davis and Weber counties on Wednesday night. There is a slight chance of more rain on Thursday, according to KSL weather.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
One-year anniversary of destructive downslope Utah windstorm