Falling tree kills Idaho woman as wind gusts reached 70 mph in dust storm
Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman
EMMETT — One woman was killed and another injured when a dust storm rolled through their campsite in Gem County on Tuesday night, according to the Gem County prosecutor’s office.
The women were camping at the Antelope Campground, by Sage Hen Reservoir, and sought refuge in their vehicle during the storm that swept through much of Southern Idaho.
One woman was pronounced dead at the scene after part of a falling tree struck the vehicle, according to a news release from Tahja Jensen, a deputy prosecuting attorney. The other woman was taken to a hospital by helicopter. The release did not disclose her condition, and the names of the women have not been released while their families are being notified.
“The storm caused severe damage in the area, including toppling several trees,” the release said.
Gem County was under a dust storm emergency warning Tuesday night, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Korri Anderson. Radar shows a thunderstorm was in the area when, just before 8:30 p.m., the NWS recorded a 70 mph gust of wind outside of Ola, which is a few miles south of Sage Hen.
On Wednesday morning, crews were working to clear roads, according to the release, and the Forest Service is assessing the damage around the reservoir, which is in the Boise National Forest.
Strong winds and dust also blew through the Treasure Valley on Tuesday night, causing damage to trees and limiting visibility.