Wind Storm 2011

What a crazy four days.  Early Thursday morning (December 1st), I was awakened at 1:45 am by howling winds.  Here in Utah we can get really strong East winds that flow over the mountains to the East of us and down into the valley.  Usually the winds cause minimal destruction, but every once in a while the winds can reach hurricane speeds.  This storm in particular hit my home town, Centerville, Utah, the hardest .  The city was declared a state of emergency.  These high winds continued for 9 hours averaging a constant 60 mph wind and with wind gusts reaching 102 mph–equivalent to a Category 2 Hurricane.

wind 3

The windows in our home are 30 years old and are not sealed very well, so in large wind storms a tiny bit of air blows through them and creates a loud screeching sound.  I can never sleep when we have these winds.  This time I was sure the windows were going to break with the amount of force that was being exerted on them.  I went and slept in my closet which has no windows and it helped to muffle the sound a bit.

wind 1

The damage to our city was pretty extensive.  A couple of homes were destroyed, ten semi-trucks were blown over on the freeway, cars were crushed, thousands of trees were uprooted, homes were damaged and power lines were snapped in half.  We were pretty lucky that with the thousands of trees that fell, so many of them missed hitting homes and structures.  We were without power until about 6:00 Thursday evening and without internet until Friday afternoon.  We were some of the lucky ones as some homes just had their power and internet turned back on Sunday morning.

wind 2

We spent the next 3 days helping our neighbors clean up massive trees that had fallen, shingles, debris, repairing holes in roofs, cleaning up entire downed fences, etc. from sun up till sun down.  Early Saturday morning we had another smaller wind storm with winds measuring 50 mph…I spent another night sleeping on the floor of my closet.  Luckily, we did not sustain any further damage.

wind 6

Then on Saturday night the weatherman was forecasting another large wind storm with wind speeds reaching 75 mph to hit us on Sunday evening.  What??  This is crazy!  The last big wind storm we had like this had been over 10 years ago.  I grew up in this same area and had seen a couple of bad wind storms, but nothing like this.

wind 5

Sunday morning while we were at our church service we were informed that the National Guard had been deployed to come and help clean up the debris and haul it away.  With the impending storm and the amount of debris all over the city, they were concerned that the debris throughout the neighborhoods would become projectiles and cause further harm and destruction to the city and our homes.  We quickly set up a plan and organized everyone and were sent out in large groups to clean up the streets house by house.  Every one was encouraged to bring their trucks, trailers, chainsaws, and work tools to help out in the clean up efforts.


In just four hours with every single church group throughout the city we were able to sweep every single neighborhood in our city and clean up the storm’s destruction.  Which was no small feat.  I can not believe the massive amount of debris there was.  The city parks were the designated dumping grounds of the green waste.  My house happens to be on one of the city parks and the wall of debris is astounding to look at.

Despite the craziness, I felt such a great amount of love for my neighbors who all came together to get done what needed to be done.  The streets were filled with neighbors helping one another out.  I love the area I live in!  It is amazing the amount of work that can be done when every pitches in and works together.  The picture below just one of several parks and churches that the green waste is being placed so that the National Guard can haul it out.  This is only a third of the pile.  If you look really closely you can see my son in a brown coat (should have worn his red one Smile). He is to your left of the man in a red coat.   You can see that the snow has started to fall as tonight’s storm approaches.

park wind storm pile

Now we are hunkering down, playing games by the fire and getting ready for round three.  We are hoping and praying that the storm will die out and that we can finally get back to our normal lives.  I have been doing a lot of thinking and although this storm caused quite bit of extensive damage, this is nothing like some of the many other storms and natural disasters that many of you and others have dealt with.  I can not imagine walking out of your home after some of these earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and hurricanes and finding everything obliterated. 

wind 4

It is times like these that help you gain perspective very quickly about the things that are of true importance.  Such a good reminder as we head into this holiday season.  A season that is becoming more about the stuff you can acquire and receive than celebrating the birth of our Savior, loved ones and serving others.

Here’s to hoping the storm will not produce any further damage or mayhem!

wind storm 2011 g


  1. says

    praying that your family and town stays safe tonight and that they stormy weather passes over your area. hang in there.

  2. says

    Oh wow, I am in shock over those pictures. We live in NC & we have had some HUGE tornadoes come through & devastate our area in the past 6 months, so I know a little of what you all may be feeling. I am so impressed by how much everyone helped out though. It seemed like for months we have had clean up crews here, trying to get things back to normal. I am so sorry you all had to go through this.

  3. says

    I’ve been waiting for this post as I knew you would have some great photos. I’m still in shock over my hometown and neighborhood. Craziness! I hope that weatherman is wrong this time and that you have a very calm, no wind night!

    • says

      Thanks Natalie! Everything is good now. The storm last night wimped out! You would not believe it. The park is now filled with pine trees and limbs piled us 20 feet high.

  4. says

    Wow, I hadn’t even heard of this happening. I’m so sorry your town had so much devastation. It is awesome that you all came together to clear out the debris. I hope you all can be storm free for awhile, so you can get it all fixed.

  5. says

    What a mess, this is awful! I’m north of you (Calgary, Canada) and we get some good winds too, but had our worst a week ago. Ours was only one day, but we hit hurricane 1 winds for the first time ever and that was scary enough. Same destruction you show, but not nearly that intense! I hope everyone is okay.

  6. Loretta says

    That’s great that you were able to get all of the debris cleaned up before tonight! I can hear the wind howling already. :( I’m close to Weber State and I just can’t believe all of the damage (not just at Weber, but my neighbors as well). I hope you stay safe and warm tonight! Good luck!!

  7. says

    Oh my word! It looks like the wind went looking for Christmas trees amoung other things. :( There is so much damage. I am glad your safe!

    • says

      Yes…Lots and Lots of pine trees went down. Anyone need a 20-40 foot Christmas tree?? We have some for a great price! Free!! U haul! :)

    • says

      haha! That is cute. Yeah…that might not have been a great time to be flying a kite. They might have gotten more of a ride than they bargained for.

  8. Anna Marie Penix says

    Wow, Amy! You all have really had alot of damage. I can’t imagine wind that hard for that long! Will be keeping you in my prayers again, tonight. Hope you can get some rest! God’s protection be all around you and yours.

  9. says

    Amy, Every second that I was tweeting from the emergency communications center I was thinking of your family. I am sooo very glad that you guys were spared too much damage and everyone is okay :)

    Love you!


  10. says

    Those are some AMAZING pictures. You guys were definitely hit worse than our area in Bountiful. I hope the cleanup/rebuild gets done well!

  11. says

    My 2 older boys live on the border of Centerville and Bountiful (one is in the National Guard). They didn’t have power for days so they have been staying with us. We had some minor damage, but nothing like Centerville. I hope this next storm is smaller than they are predicting and you can finally rest.

    • says

      So glad they had somewhere to go. It was so crazy. Was your son one of the National Guard who helped us clean up? They were so great to help us out so quickly!

  12. Tez says

    wow, so glad you’re all safe and sound!!!!
    There is nothing more amazing than a committed and loving community! What a thrill.

  13. Angel says

    Wow! That looks very similar to when tornadoes go through our area. So happy your all safe. It’s amazing to see what damage can be done by the weather.

  14. Jennifer L says

    Wow!! We live in Syracuse.. we had the bad winds and some damage, but NOTHING as bad as any of your pictures. We’ve got lots of family in Centerville/Farmington/Bountiful that had huge trees fall to the ground.. my grandparents’ neighborhood had the garbage cans out for pick up and the wind blew the garbage EVERYWHERE. It was pretty gross. I love that the community is pulling together to help each other out. I pray that no further damage occurs tonight! Fingers crossed. Stay safe!

    • says

      Thanks Jennifer! Glad the storm didn’t cause a lot of damage for you or your neighbors! I don’t think the landfill can hold anymore debris LOL!

  15. says

    I can’t sleep when the wind blows either. Thankfully we only received minor damage. Our neighbors were not as fortunate. This past week has been crazy, but I agree with you the amount of camaraderie and love has been amazing to see.

  16. Kathy says

    WOW! The pictures are incredible, it must have been just shocking to be right there! i am so glad everyone pitched in and helped and I pray that the winds do not cause so much havoc next time.

    • says

      It was a bit shocking to see the damage after heading outside for the first time. Makes you realize how things can change in an instant.

  17. says

    Wow! Such damage! Coming from the Midwest, I’ve seen shots that are very familiar to those. I’m so proud of those who worked so hard to clean up their community. So inspiring.

  18. says

    Incredible. I sat here in shock as the reports were coming in. I lived in Utah for 30 years before moving to Maryland. I am still in amazement at the destruction these storms are causing. I am praying for all of my friends and family in Utah.

    • says

      So glad it is over and that it wasn’t worse. Amazing how many trees just barely missed hitting homes and structures.

  19. says

    That is crazy! I used to live in West Bountiful – that must be why you look so familiar!!! – and wonder what the big beautiful cottonwoods in my old backyard look like. :( I’m glad everyone was kept safe.

    • says

      Whoa…I just checked out your site and you look familiar to me too LOL!! Did you grow up in Bountiful like I did? Haha! Cute family by the way.

  20. says

    My husband grew up in Centerville and was devastated to hear of all the damage. His family owns Pineae Greenhouses (which had been in Centerville for 50+ years) up until they moved it out to West Haven. Our thoughts and prayers are all with you still. The people of Centerville are amazingly good, faithful and supportive community!

    • says

      Beckie–We are going to have to talk! The owners of Pineae are my neighbors…literally. Just down the street a few houses :)! Small world! They are good people.

  21. elsa says

    What a wonderful city you live in ~ it is wonderful seeing people working together no matter what the situation is. Be safe.

    • says

      Thank you Elsa. I really do feel like I live in a great city. I love my neigbors and have been so lucky to have neighbors who I really do enjoy.

  22. says

    Great pictures! Pretty crazy. My sister got two windows blown out of their house:( Her husband is the bishop so they are busy helping everyone with everything. Hope today doesn’t add more destruction to the area.

  23. Sharon says

    I was truly in the dark that this was occurring. I am thankful that you are all ok. Thank you for sharing the pictures. God bless you as you continue to help friends and neighbors

    • says

      Thanks Sharon. If it doesn’t impact you directly than it is hard to be fully aware right? Now I feel bad for all those other places who get hit with horrible disasters and life everywhere else just goes on. And our storm was not very bad in comparison to so many others.

  24. says

    Oh my word! I live down in Orem, and can’t believe how much harder you were hit.
    Like an idiot, I was out on our third floor balcony stubbornly trying to paint curtain rods. Needless to say, the wind won.

    • says

      haha! Glad you weren’t hurt. Sometimes we just got to get it done when we want it :)! Glad the storm didn’t hit down there.

  25. Cari says

    These pics bring back a lot of bad memories of the destruction we had here in Alabama after the tornadoes in April. Clean up seems so overwhelming but slowly things get back to ‘normal’. Praying ya’ll catch a break out there.

    • says

      Thanks Cari for your encouraging words. I can not imagine what a tornado would be like or the destruction. Glad it is over!

  26. says

    WoW. As I sat here reading this post my chin was dropped in shock-filled awe! Praise God that you guys are ok!
    I’m sending up prayers for safety and for relief from these storms for you and your community. ♥Anita

  27. says

    So crazy huh? I live in Bountiful and we had the same clean up effort yesterday. We didn’t get hit too bad last night and hope you didn’t either!

    • says

      My family is there and so I saw you guys had some extensive damage too. Crazy! So glad last night’s storm wimped out. I was a little nervous :)

  28. says

    We were hit really hard, too! We lost our chimney, all of our fences, three huge trees and roof shingles.
    We are all safe, too, but I can’t believe all of the damage that happened in our county!!
    Yes, it’s so amazing to see the community come together and help. They canceled our church to get out their and help the neighbors. Sad that sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring us all so close together!

    So happy you and your family are safe!

    • says

      Thanks Kari! Crazy huh? I heard you guys got quite a bit of damage too in your city. Glad no one was seriously hurt.

  29. says

    It was crazy, I have read your blog for a while and never realized till these pictures you live just east of me. I think we might even go to the same Ward House. It’s crazy you can live that close to people and never know until you are working beside them or reading a blog.

  30. Mindy says

    That storm was insane! Our neighbor’s unknowingly gifted us a new tree :) we lost fencing, one of our gate’s broke, some of our swing set is broke. But we are truly grateful it wasn’t worse. And the clean up, that whole process was truly amazing. I had tears in my eye’s more than once this week, just watching everyone pitch in and do what needed to be done. What a wonderful community we live in! (Oh and the park smells like a great big Christmas tree, I loved driving by :))

  31. Marnie says

    Kaysville was hit pretty hard too. Luckily my house didn’t sustain any damage but just a few houses and blocks away was hit hard. We had a ton of debris but no damage. The row of 50+ tear old pine trees by Davis High were practically flattened. So was the Christmas tree that we just hasthe tree lighting ceremony for a few days before the storm. It was great see everyone out yesterday helping their neighbors. It was a bright spot in an otherwise devastating few days. I’m glad you are all ok.

  32. Connie says

    Oh, my goodness! I grew up in Bountiful and my husband grew up in Centerville. I used to hate those east winds. I couldn’t sleep at night either. We have been gone for 23 years and just recently I realized that I can sleep though wind storms at night–it’s taken this long to get the east winds out of my system. Do the mountains still get that funny cloud–that looks like a blanket–on them during the winds?

  33. jules p says

    I am so terribly sorry to hear about this. I am thankful that none of your family was hurt and that your town is okay!

  34. says

    It’s been a crazy windy season here too, but nothing like the winds that hit your town. It’s amazing to see all the trees uprooted and the destruction that wind can cause. Hope it all calms down for you soon!

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