Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City Aug 12 - 15
Re: Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City Aug 12 - 15
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 16:04:08 -0600
[Ed Henderson let us know that none of the staff of Scouter magazine were in the
path of the tornado that hit Salt Lake City last week. I offer the following for
those who may be interested. I apologize for the OT.]
[View this message as more of an in-depth report of the tornado itself. There
are no human-interest stories a la how Scouts/Scouters/Scouting has stepped up to
aid. Rather, this message will be background when I (or others) do get some
these stories to pass along to the list. And, again, my apologies if this seems
a bit to OT.]
At approximately 12:40 pm Mountain time, a tornado of force 2 (F2) touched down
just west of the heart of Salt Lake City's downtown area. The tornado moved
east-by-northeast in a slight arc (starting eastward, then curving slightly
northward). The path of the tornado took it across the north-west half of the
Delta Center, a major event center here in Salt Lake, and home of the Utah Jazz
(NBA) and Utah Starzz (WNBA), and 'through' the Wyndham Hotel. From there, the
tornado continued ENE-ward. It damaged or destroyed a number of businesses
downtown, and skirted the Salt Palace. The Salt Palace is another major event
center in Salt Lake, and was host to the Outdoor Retailers Show. Still traveling
ENE-ward, the tornado damaged several other businesses, hit The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints Art and History Museum, including a pioneer cabin (it
just missed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History
Library, which is the world's largest genealogical records research center, by
mere feet). The tornado crossed the northwest corner of Temple Square, transited
the new LDS Assembly Center (still under construction) and then starting hitting
residential areas. At this point, the tornado is moving more or less northerly.
After damaging and destroying a number of homes, the tornado arrived in the
vicinity of the state capitol. The structures there were unharmed. The storm
then moved north-eastward and destroyed Memory Grove before the tornado lifted
off. (The same storm is believed to have produced another tornado in
south-eastern Idaho sometime later).
This tornado caused one fatality: An installer at the Outdoor Retailers Show
from Nevada was struck by a falling beam and killed. The rest of his crew had
just left for lunch. Had he gone with them, instead of staying behind to take
care of a few details (he was known for taking care of the few details at all the
shows he set up), he would have been out of harm's way. He left a wife and one
child (?). To add to the family's catastrophe, the 11th was also the husband and
wife's anniversary. There were some 68 other persons injured.
The storm that spawned the tornado also knocked out power at LDS Hospital, so the
majority of the injured were transported to University Medical Center.
The tornado destroyed several buildings, downtown. It also damaged at least one
apartment complex (leaving one unit unlivable, damaging the roofing on several
others, and breaking some windows.) west of downtown. The Delta Center will be
closed three to six weeks for repairs: Much of the roof will be replaced, all of
the windows on the west side; however, the building is still structurally sound.
The Wyndham Hotel, where many of the Outdoor Retailers Show participants were
staying, was closed due to superficial damage (broken windows, mostly) and will
reopen in a week or so.
That cabin by the two LDS facilities sits directly between the two building. All
the trees around and between the buildings were severely damaged, but the
historic cabin was unscathed. A few windows were broken on Temple Square, but
the Temple, itself, was undamaged. The Assembly Hall, Tabernacle, and Visitors
Center were also undamaged, although a number of trees were.
The new Assembly Center suffered minor damage. None of the construction workers
suffered major injuries, although a tower crane was toppled.
Some 184 homes were damaged or destroyed. FEMA has authorized funding to rebuild
where insurance was lacking or insufficient. More than 700 trees were destroyed
or so severely damaged they will have to be removed out of concern for public
Speaking of insurance, there was quite an ironical turn of events here. One of
the clubs downtown had been broken into about a month ago. A safe was stolen.
The safe and its contents were valued at $26K. The insurance didn't cover this
theft. As a result, the owners had the insurance policy updated. If this had
not happened, the club would have had inadequate insurance when the tornado
left. The coverage would have provided less than $100K toward repairing the
damages. Instead, it will cover nearly the entire cost of ~$1M to rebuild the
club. The owners have offered a $10K reward to the thief.
Historically, Utah has been the site of fewer than two tornados a year. The
strongest tornado recorded occurred a year earlier to the date. It was a F3, but
did little damage (as measured by dollars invested in man made
structures/improvements) since it was in a remote forest area. The last tornado
in Salt Lake City itself was in 1968.
Prior to the tornado of August 11, 1999, there have been no tornado-related
[I will be doing some research over the next few days, looking for followup
stories of Scouting interest to post to the list.]
[Oh, and if anyone's interested, my wife and two of the kids were home at the
time -- about 2.5 miles from the CPA. Third child was at dance camp (after two
weeks of being at Scout camp!), and saw the tornado, but was also a safe distance
(ca. 2 miles) away. I was 8 miles away from the tornado, at my office.]
Kip Keil, Sr. Programmer, V i s i o n N e t
http://www.vsnet.com | http://kip.vsnet.com
MC, Ad Hoc P-3055; MC, Advancement T-1022; MC, Ad Hoc T-175
AA, Ceremonies Tsah Dibe Chapter, El-Ku-Ta 520,
Great Salt Lake Council, BSA . . . . . "I used to be a bear . . . "
--We all learn from history . . .
...either by study, or by repetition.
-- Kip Keil, 1998