Governor Herbert Issues Statement on Yesterday’s Wind Storms Gives Overview of State Efforts

SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Gary R. Herbert has issued the following statement:
“The wind storms yesterday caused major damage to homes, businesses, and public facilities, especially in Davis County. I realize that extensive property damage is especially difficult in this economy for many individuals and families right now. My heart goes out to those who are injured and suffered terrible losses as a result of this storm. From the beginning, we have been working diligently to minimize impacts as much as possible, particularly to ensure personal safety by providing timely public alerts and by immediately deploying our local agencies and coordinating with partners.
“I commend the swift, coordinated and effective response of city and county governments, local public safety officials, utility crews, the Utah Department of Public Safety, the Utah Department of Transportation, and many others. There were several accounts of heroism and kindness. For that, I am personally grateful. An event of this magnitude requires us all to cooperate and step up. In light of that, I also urge Utahns to demonstrate Utah’s culture of volunteerism and ask you to assist those who have been affected by the storms.
“Now, as we clean up and repair damage, we have plans in place to assess damage and determine if and where additional public resources are needed. The concerted effort of local, county and state responders will go on as long as is necessary to restore services and insure personal safety.
“Let me add that severe weather events like yesterday’s wind storm underscore the importance of emergency preparedness, no matter the emergency. Our statewide preparedness efforts have helped to mitigate damage, and heighten the speed and effectiveness of response to such events. We have excellent resources available via  to help individuals, families, and businesses be prepared.”
The following is an overview of some of the state preparedness and response efforts:

  • The Governor and Lt. Governor received extensive and ongoing briefings from state officials as to storm damage and response efforts.  Both the Governor and Lt. Governor personally surveyed storm damage in Davis County.
  • The Governor directed his Cabinet to deploy full state resources as appropriate and as requested by local officials.
  • Additional personnel were assigned to the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) communications center in Salt Lake to respond to handle calls and requests from the public.
  • Extra Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) troopers were called into duty and had shifts extended in order to respond to wind-related traffic problems and incidents in Davis County.
  • Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) started preparations for the storm on Monday after storm forecasts became clear.  UDOT sent out regular detailed weather forecasts specific to the affected corridor to emergency responders, DPS, and the affected communities.
  • UDOT began posting storm warnings on overhead message boards on affected corridors 24 hours in advance of storm.
  • UDOT freight planners met with trucking groups and trucking associations prior to the storm.  Starting at 2:00 AM Thursday morning, planners stopped at 23 different truck stops or rest areas to forewarn truckers and the trucking industry by passing out the wind warnings, forecasts, and alternate routes. 
  • UDOT freight planners surveyed Davis County 24-hours before the storm to determine the best locations to park stranded truckers.
  • The UDOT Traffic Operation Center went on full alert on Wednesday and was staffed 24-7.  They coordinate traffic signal repairs for downed signals, alerted the public via dozens of emails and tweets about weather-related road impacts for thousands of affected motorists.
  • UDOT maintenance crews and Incident Management Teams, starting at 2:00 AM Thursday, began helping UHP clear incidents and help with traffic control.  They also secured loose fencing and barriers during the storm and helped stranded motorists.
  • UDOT also released a new traffic smart phone app that provided the latest road and weather info for travelers. The app was downloaded by more than 6000 people on December 1 alone.
  • Utah Department of Emergency Management (DEM) liaisons were in continuous contact with local emergency management officials to assess needs and respond to resource requests.
  • DEM coordinated information and resource sharing with other public and private agencies across the state.