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Power crews scurry in wake of storm

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About 4,600 people still without power from Tuesday night's massive thunderstorms could have their electricity finally restored today, Rocky Mountain Power said.

"The center of the worst damage is the Salt Lake Valley," said power company spokesman Dave Eskelsen.

Crews from as far away as Oregon have been brought in to help restore electricity to the area. At its height, the storm had knocked out power to 56,000 residents. Tuesday's storm packed quite a punch — trees were toppled and power lines came crashing down in many areas.

Tooele County was hit the hardest with high winds that many residents described as tornado-like. However, the National Weather Service determined the winds, with gusts up to 70 mph, were "straight-line winds."

Straight-line winds are associated with weather patterns that are similar to a microburst, but the system is more organized, said Randy Graham, a meteorologist in the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service.

Stansbury Park and Erda received the majority of the damage, which included fallen trees, crumpled trampolines and shredded vinyl fences.

Houses under construction also received major amounts of damage.

The storm also hit harder in Salt Lake County than in Utah County. That's not to say the storm blew past Utah County neighborhoods without incident.

Graham, who said winds in Lehi reached up to 61 mph, said an investigation of reports of a funnel cloud touching down in the Lehi/Eagle Mountain area determined witnesses actually saw the more common straight-line winds.

No major damages were reported to the Utah County Public Works Department, said county engineer Clyde Naylor.

The storm also passed through Juab County, but no major damage was reported, according to the Juab County Sheriff's Office.

Cities throughout Salt Lake County experienced differing amounts of damage Tuesday night from the thunderstorms and heavy rain.

Cities in western Salt Lake County fared better than Tooele County. South Jordan and West Jordan received minimal amounts of damage, with several fallen trees and ripped off shingles. The Home Depot in West Jordan and the Hampton Inn in Jordan Landing saw some damage from falling scaffolding and plywood.

Riverton and Herriman reported fallen trees and broken fences but no major damage.

West Valley City residents can take broken tree limbs to two Dumpsters located at City Park, 4500 W. 3500 South, and West View Park, 6100 W. 4100 South. The Dumpsters are only for tree limbs. The Dumpsters will be in those locations until Saturday morning.

West Valley residents can get additional information about the city's bulk waste removal service at www.wvc-ut.gov/publicworks/Sanitation/sanitationhome.cfm. City cleaning crews cannot help residents remove debris from private property, nor can they remove utility poles or street lights. Residents are advised to call the utility company concerning fallen poles.

Contributing: Ben Winslow

E-mail: achoate@desnews.com; csmith@desnews.com