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Tornado strikes central Utah

An amateur videographer caught the funnel cloud on tape.
An amateur videographer caught the funnel cloud on tape.  

MANTI, Utah (CNN) -- A tornado swept through central Utah on Sunday afternoon, ripping apart roofs, telephone poles and trees, and causing an estimated $1 million in damage, officials said.

The twister, captured on amateur video as a long, thin, brown funnel, moved through the Sanpete Valley near Manti about 1:49 p.m. (3:49 p.m. EDT), said Jeff Craven, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"The amazing thing: not an injury reported," said Lt. Rick Howe of the Sanpete County Sheriff's Office.

Howe said the twister touched down three times -- first southwest of town in a ranching area, then in the central part of Manti, and finally on the east side of town, where it caused extensive damage to homes.

"Where it touched down is just devastating," Howe said. "There are garages where the walls are gone and the roof is just sitting on the ground. There's a home where part of the home is simply missing. One house -- it didn't really do a lot of damage to the house, it just simply blew all the windows out."

No injuries reported so far after a tornado took roofs off houses, brought down power lines and uprooted trees in Manti, Utah (September 9)

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The tornado that slammed into Manti, Utah, caused about $1 million in damage. KUTV's Christianne Klein reports (September 9)

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He said the garage over one woman's car has disappeared, her car apparently OK and still parked in its place. In another instance, the twister destroyed a travel trailer, blowing the trailer one way and its axles and frames another way.

Sheriff's officials estimated the twister had winds of more than 113 mph.

The tornado brought with it golf-ball-size hail, Craven said.

At the second place where the tornado touched down, it struck Anderson Lumber, destroying the building and spewing lumber and plywood in all directions, Howe said.

"As I'm watching, I'm watching it just tear the roof off Anderson Lumber," said Carolyn Nordell, who lives a quarter-mile away. "It was like a Discovery Channel special on tornadoes."

"Big chunks" of the roof went in the air, and then the entire aluminum roof was rolled off the building like the top of a can of sardines. "I was in shock," she told CNN.

"We've got four 100-year-old pine trees in front of our house, and I'm looking in between the pine trees and you can see all this debris twirling up just 1,000 feet up towards the sky," she said.

"I see the funnel cloud go up into the sky, and then it went back down again, and then it went back up -- and then it was gone," she said.

A covered vehicle lies untouched after the garage it was in exploded outward during the tornado.
A covered vehicle lies untouched after the garage it was in exploded outward during the tornado.  

Spotters for the local branch of the weather service reported seeing the funnel cloud move into the mountains to the east of Manti, where it weakened and disappeared, Craven said.

Nordell said her house was spared, but the tornado caused a quarter-mile swath of damage on the east side of State Highway 89.

Howe of the Sheriff's Department said volunteers had come in from neighboring towns, along with Red Cross officials, and power company workers were trying to restore electricity. A local store also donated food and drinks for the volunteers, he said.


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