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Tornadoes in Utah aren't all that rare

Utah's many mountains help block the formation of tornadoes, but the Beehive State has averaged about 4.2 tornadoes per year since 1989, according to the National Weather Service.

Compare that ratio with statistics from 1950 to 1988, when there were only 52 tornadoes reported in Utah, or 1.3 per year.

From 1989 to 2001 alone, 54 tornadoes were reported.

Weather experts said the reason twisters are reported more often now is not because they occur more often, but because there are more people around to witness them, and those who do see funnel clouds are more likely to report them.

Sunday's twister was Utah's first this year and the second for Manti in just two years.

Here are historical highlights of some of the tornadoes in Utah to show they are more common that many believe:

August 1869, American Fork Canyon — The first recorded mention of a tornado in Utah, when a "tornado-waterspout" traveled up the canyon and destroyed seven bridges along the way.

May 28, 1941, Bountiful — A tornado caused $5,000 in damage to farm buildings and power lines.

July 1953, Kanarraville, Iron County — A small twister broke tree limbs and tore a metal roof off a garage.

May 25, 1954, Laketown, Rich County — A tornado damaged an eight-block area. Trees were uprooted and buildings flattened.

June 16, 1955, Fayette, Sanpete County — Two funnel clouds damaged trees and sheds.

Aug. 7, 1957, Salina, Sevier County — A small tornado blew the roofs off a processing plant and a service station.

Jule 9, 1962, Grouse Creek, Box Elder County — A tornado tore up ground in an uninhabited area for 15 minutes.

June 3, 1963, Bountiful — A tornado hit Bountiful Elementary School, tore the roof off the school and caused $20,000 in damage. No one was injured. The twister also damaged homes, and one-inch hail afterward broke windows and damaged cars.P>

Aug. 28, 1964, Gunnison, Sanpete County<— A tornado damaged a chicken coop, broke windows and tore the roof off a garage.

Feb. 9, 1965, Magna — A small tornado destroyed a three-car garage. No one was hurt and three vehicles parked inside were not damaged.

June 23, 1965, Woodruff, Rich County — A tornado overturned a trailer and then moved across open fields before lifting into the air.

June 7, 1965, Provo Canyon — A tornado in the Vivian Park area damaged trees, vegetation and power lines over a three-mile path.

April 17, 1966, Springville — A tornado touched down, breaking large trees and lifting the roof off a house.

Nov. 2, 1967, Emery, Emery County — The Last Chance Hotel was destroyed by a tornado, though no one is injured.

Dec. 2, 1967 — A "white tornado" was spotted by a snow survey team, near the Timpanogos Divide in Utah County.

April 14, 1968, West Weber, Weber County — A tornado unroofed a milking barn and lifted a man and boy off the ground. It also carried a horse over a fence and into another pasture, destroyed a barn and a house and caused $50,000 in damages.

Aug. 14, 1968, Salt Lake City — Three tornadoes and one funnel cloud landed. One twister tore up trees in Pioneer Park and moved toward Temple Square, blowing out windows along the way. However, the tornado lifted off the ground as it passed between the Salt Lake Temple and the Hotel Utah. The hotel's flag is reported to have been blowing straight up, as if sucked by a vacuum cleaner.

March 25, 1970, Emery — A tornado caused $2,000 damage in Emery.

April 19, 1970, Annabella, Sevier County — A woman was carried 30 feet by a tornado and then dropped. She received only minor injuries. The twister also damaged two trailers.

June 11, 1970, Thompson, Grand County — A tornado damaged trees, leveled two sheds and destroyed a mobile home.

Feb. 22, 1972, White City, Salt Lake County — A tornado damaged a home.

July 24, 1981, Hanksville, Wayne County — A tornado was spotted but caused no damage.

Aug. 13, 1984, near Provo — A tornado touched down five miles south of Provo, but produced no damage.

Sept. 11, 1984, near Myton, Duchesne County — A tornado overturned a car and truck.

Jan. 10, 1989, Sandy — A tornado damaged one home in the Hidden Valley Estates subdivision.

July 8, 1989, Midvale — A tornado damaged roofs, trees and power lines.

May 23, 1990, Vernal — A tornado damaged a mobile home and storage sheds.

Sept. 10, 1991, Brigham City — A tornado severed power lines, uprooted trees and damaged buildings. This was the fifth tornado reported in Utah during 1991, with others in Erda, Green River and Beaver County.

Aug. 30, 1992, east of the Kennecott mine — No damage.

April 4, 1993, Caineville, Wayne County — A tornado damaged a restaurant and motor home.

May 3, 1993, Erda — A tornado destroyed a Tooele County drive-in.

May 5, 1993, Leota, Uintah County — A tornado touched down.

June 2, 1993, North Salt Lake — A tornado damaged roofs and trees.

Aug. 11, 1993, Uinta Mountains near Chepata Lake — A strong tornado damaged 1,000 acres of trees, four cars and a truck.

Sept. 12, 1998, Emigration Canyon — A tornado was reported.

Aug. 11, 1999, Salt Lake City — A strong tornado, with winds up to 157 mph, whipped through downtown, killing one man, injuring 80 people and damaging or destroying 500 trees. Total damage was about $170 million in a 4 1/4-mile path of damage.

Sept. 3, 1999, Vernal and Naples — A tornado caused minor damage.

May 24, 2000, near Manti — A small tornado touched down but caused no damage.

May 25, 2000, near Cottonwood Mall — A tornado damaged cars, a roof and uprooted trees.

Historical sources: "Utah Weather" by Mark Eubank and Deseret News archives.


Contributing: Brady Snyder

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com