Freak windstorm rips through Soda Springs

Local

0  Updated at 5:00 pm, July 17th, 2017 By: EastIdahoNews.com staff
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SODA SPRINGS — What appeared to be a windstorm touched down in Soda Springs around 4 p.m. Monday.

“It totally came out of nowhere,” said Holly Bartschi of Mountain States Insurance, which has an office on U.S. Highway 30. “I mean, there was no indication of any wind or anything.”

EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton and his family were headed to Bear Lake for vacation. They were a couple of miles away.

“We saw in the distance what appeared to be a dust devil,” Eaton said.

Meanwhile, Bartschi was sitting at her desk.

“It sounded like, just all these rocks — it almost sounded like glass — hitting the window, which it wasn’t,” she said. “The front door flew open, and I could just see all kinds of stuff blowing into the street. We have this concrete-style roof. … (The storm) blew concrete all over our front sidewalk and into a customer’s car, causing some damage. It put the concrete pieces of the roof out into the street.”

It didn’t last long.

“It was forming into a tornado-like cylinder. Then in a few seconds it dispersed,” Eaton said.

Neighbors and emergency crews quickly cleaned up the mess of concrete, bricks from the building’s facade and tree limbs. The car sustained minor damage and was driven away. No one appeared to be hurt.

Data from the National Weather Service show windstorms in the Soda Springs area and thunderstorms throughout east Idaho. The dust devil was likely a microburst — a sudden, powerful air current.

The incident was something Bartschi will remember for a long time.

“It was really, really scary,” she said.

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