Storm downs trees, causes power outages in Park City | ParkRecord.com

Storm downs trees, causes power outages in Park City

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Traffic backed up in the poor weather conditions Thursday afternoon along outbound S.R. 224 outside Canyons Village. High winds caused widespread power outages in the area. Jake Shane/Park Record

A fast-moving storm whipped through Park City on Thursday, downing trees, causing widespread electricity outages and forcing the mountain resorts to shut down numerous lifts as heavy winds blew through the area.

The wind was especially notable as the snowfall totals were not as impressive as many other storms. Brian McInerney, a National Weather Service hydrologist, said a wind gust of 89 mph was recorded at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Jupiter Peak. Later that morning, at 11 a.m., a 56 mph gust was logged at Quinn’s Junction, he said. McInerney said the wind gusts at those speeds were a "very rare occurrence."

"The entire cold front was moving fast," he said as he explained the low snowfall numbers on Thursday.

The wind was blamed for numerous problems on Thursday and into the overnight hours. Hugh Daniels, the emergency program manager at City Hall, said a transformer on a power pole in Old Town caught fire midmorning Thursday in the vicinity of the intersection of Park Avenue and 5th Street.

The Park City Fire District extinguished the fire and a Rocky Mountain Power crew responded to replace the transformer, Daniels said. The fire caused an electricity outage on Old Town streets like Woodside Avenue, Park Avenue, Main Street, Swede Alley and Marsac Avenue.

Daniels said a second issue led to outages in Old Town between Thursday afternoon and 3:30 a.m. on Friday. He was not immediately sure of the cause. There were other electrical issues involving less than a block, he said. The Marsac Building lost power for a time as well.

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Daniels said the heaviest wind appeared to be in the upper reaches of Deer Valley, including Empire Pass. Some tree toppled in the wind, he said. Daniels said there were no reports of structural damage to buildings across Park City.

Daniels said there were numerous slide-off accidents reported on Thursday. The Public Utilities Department responded to remove debris like branches and trees from the upper section of Marsac Avenue, he said.

"Considering how violent the storm was for eight hours, I think everything went pretty well," he said.

The Park City Police Department said no major injuries were reported, but there were many weather-related traffic problems, Phil Kirk, a police captain, said. He said the Police Department received lots of reports of power outages.

Rocky Mountain Power said there were power outages on Thursday in Park City and surrounding Summit County. Inside Park City, 1,239 customers were impacted between 10:08 a.m. and 1:02 p.m. as a result of the pole fire in Old Town, a spokesperson said. Another outage, blamed on a bad underground cable, impacted 420 customers from 2:16 p.m. on Thursday until 12:43 a.m. on Friday while a smaller outage, impacting 99 customers, was reported between 10:36 a.m. and 3:31 p.m. on Thursday. Trees on a power line were blamed for the smaller outage.

There were significant outages in Kamas and Coalville and smaller ones in the Snyderville Basin and Oakley.

Park City Mountain Resort said in a Thursday afternoon posting on its website Canyons Village terrain was closed while just two lifts at the Park City base area were open at that time. Deer Valley Resort also reported numerous lift closures on Thursday. Seven lifts reopened by Thursday afternoon and all the lifts were open at Deer Valley by Friday. PCMR reported nearly all its lifts were open by midday Friday.