At 3 p.m. Sept. 22, the skies were partly cloudy, there was a slight breeze and Weber State University students were making their way in and out of classes, as usual. By 4 p.m., all hell and tree limbs broke loose as Ogden experienced its first major storm of the fall.
The National Weather Service reported that a tornado touched down briefly in Washington Terrace, south of campus, and high winds damaged both trees and power lines all over the city.
WSU sophomore Shelby Chiles was in class, Ogden resident Jason Judkins was at home and WSU junior Molly Horne was at softball practice. For Chiles, Judkins and Horne, the day may have started like any other, but with the wind as its weapon, it had something very different in store.
Chiles had just finished her anatomy lab when she ran to her car through the rain and found it covered in tree branches.
“I was shocked. I didn’t realize I would come out of my class and find my car damaged,” Chiles said.
The car had a crushed windshield, large tree limbs resting on the caved-in hood and dents covering the body, but Chiles was thankful that her car was the only thing crushed by debris. She planned to begin the elaborate process of contacting her insurance company and mechanic the next day.
As for what she may do differently moving forward, Chiles was confident in one thing. “I’m probably not going to be parking under any trees for a while,” she said with a laugh.
Judkins was at home with his family when the storm struck Weber State and the surrounding areas. Judkins and his family live on the road that connects WSU’s main campus to the Dee Events Center, Taylor Avenue. He came outside after the storm and saw that a large tree had fallen in his neighbor’s front yard, nearly hitting a truck parked in the driveway.
Judkins said that this is not the homeowners’ primary residence, and, in fact, he barely knows them. That did nothing to stop him, his wife and several other Taylor Avenue residents from getting to work cleaning up the mess. The buzzing of chainsaws replaced the howling of the wind as they made short work of the downed tree an hour after the storm ripped through their neighborhood.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” Judkins said. “We chopped it down, and it only took about 45 minutes.”
Things didn’t end quite so easily for Horne, however. The storm surprised her and her teammates during practice, but it passed over them quickly. However, it left an unwelcome surprise.
“When we came outside, four of our cars had windshields broken,” Horne said. “Then we came home, and we couldn’t even get inside because the power was out.”
Horne lives on campus at University Village, which lost power during the storm. According to Rocky Mountain Power, about 35,000 homes in Davis and Weber counties were without power as a result of the storm.
Power was restored shortly after 9 p.m., but many residents had already found another place to sleep.
Though brief, the storm left its mark on Ogden and the surrounding areas. Weber State University and its students were on the receiving end of plenty of damage, but no injuries were reported on campus.