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Winds buffet Utah, toppling trucks, trees, power lines

In all, the Utah Department of Transportation reported 11 semis overturned by the wind on the state's highways Thursday morning. Utah Highway Patrol Corporal Todd Johnson said that between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., at least six semis were blown onto their sides on I-15 in Davis County in the area of the Lund Lane and Parrish Lane exits in Centerville as violent gusts - hitting 102 mph around 9 a.m. - thrashed the region.

Johnson said none of the drivers suffered more than minor injuries.

All traffic through the affected area was diverted for about two hours, Johnson said. By 7:30 a.m., traffic through the area had resumed, but was periodically suspended as new semi-related accidents occurred throughout the morning. Motorists still were advised to avoid the area, if possible. High-profile vehicles were ordered off the gusty stretch of freeway until at least 6 p.m. Thursday.

Blowing snow closed down Interstate 80 at Evanston, Wyo., early Thursday, the Utah Department of Transportation reported, and the Utah Transportation Authority reported it had closed down the FrontRunner commuter train route between Layton and Woods Cross due to debris on the tracks and heavy damage to the Farmington station,where 15 light poles were toppled and the platform's walkway roofing and siding shredded; passengers were transferred to buses to complete their trips.

Initially, riders were bused between Layton and Woods Cross, but about 10:30 a.m., power went out at the Woods Cross station necessitating extension of the so-called "bus bridge" for FrontRunner passengers from Layton all the way to Salt Lake City.

UTA also advised passengers using its Paratransit service in Weber and Davis to cancel trips Thursday.

© Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune
Tipped over semi truck lies along the shoulder of I-15 northbound near Farmington on Thursday morning. I-15 was closed Thursday morning to high-profile vehicles due to the high winds in Davis County. A wind gust was recorded at 100 mph in Centerville.

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