World

Utah reeling after tornadoes, flooding

Storms rip through Utah, causing power outages, flooded streets and golf ball-sized hail. Two tornadoes also damaged more than a dozen buildings hundreds of kilometres apart.

No serious injuries reported, but at least 12 homes badly damaged

A structure is damaged after a tornado in Washington Terrace City, Utah, on Thursday. Other storms in the area produced winds over 112 km/h and caused damage to trees and other property close to the nearby city of Layton. (Chris Detrick/Salt Lake Tribune/ Associated Press)

People across Utah were reeling today after storms ripped through the state, including two that damaged more than a dozen buildings hundreds of kilometres apart.

Thousands of people remained without power Friday after the severe weather flooded streets and dropped golf ball-sized hail.

No serious injuries have been reported, but at least 12 homes were badly damaged by a tornado in the northern city of Washington Terrance, the Standard-Examiner of Ogden reported.

Resident Gaelynn Sewell's home was destroyed, leaving her without even a toothbrush or clean clothes

"We lost things that can never be replaced," Sewell told the Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday.

A garage was lifted from its foundation, trees were ripped from the ground and cars were dented by hurtling chunks of debris. Authorities say the cleanup is just beginning, but could take days or weeks.

At least 12 homes were damaged after two tornadoes ripped through Utah on Thursday. (Chris Detrick/Salt Lake Tribune/Associated Press)

Classes were cancelled Friday at several area schools.

A group of students from the Utah Military Academy were nearly caught in the twister while running a five-kilometre race, the Deseret News reported.

Pelted by flying debris, the group tried to hang onto trees, which then began to snap in half.

It was pretty much like trying to run away from a huge vacuum cleaner.- Jacob  Hite

"If felt like there was a huge, almost like a slingshot bringing you back toward the tornado. It was pretty much like trying to run away from a huge vacuum cleaner," Jacob Hite told the newspaper.

They managed to escape into a nearby store.

Another twister tore roofs off buildings in the southern Utah town of Panguitch, marking the second touchdown there in less than a month, officials said.

Severe weather also caused extensive flooding in southern Utah and dropped hail near the Great Salt Lake. In the town of Roosevelt, several homes were affected by the rising water, which also filled part of State Street.

Up north, hail pelted Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake and the winds ripped the roof off a building.