San Juan County has a wild week of weather

With a garden- and property-destroying hail storm, snow and freezing temperatures, power outages, and a previously unrecorded weather phenomenon, Mother Nature sent a message to San Juan County in a series of wild storms in the past week. 

A rare derecho wind storm originated on June 6 near Navajo Mountain in San Juan County. The storm traveled nearly 1,400 miles before the extreme winds finally dissipated below 60 miles an hour in eastern North Dakota nearly 30 hours later.  The storm, still with damaging but lower speed winds, continued into Minnesota and entered Canada at International Falls, MN. 

The fast-moving storm brought winds exceeding 75 miles per hour along the massive storm front, which traveled through Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

It is only the second recorded derecho storm that had an origin west of the Continental Divide. The highest wind speeds recorded reached 120 miles per hour in western Colorado.

After originating in the mid-morning, the derecho storm traveled in a northeast direction through San Juan County. The roar of the approaching storm could be heard for nearly ten minutes before it swept through, bringing damaging winds and golf ball-sized hail. 

There were many reports of hail damage to cars, windows, and the siding on homes and other buildings.

Power was temporarily knocked out in Bluff, the massive hail storm hit Blanding, Monticello suffered property damage, and the storm continued toward La Sal.

One of the biggest casualties of the week are area gardens and farmlands. The wind and hail storm destroyed many gardens altogether in the Blanding area.  

The gardens that survived the storm in the Monticello area faced an additional challenge on June 8 and 9 when freezing temperatures brought even more damage. 

The low temperature on June 9 was 31 degrees at the official weather site in Monticello, but it was much colder in other locations.

In an additional twist, there were overnight snow flurries in Monticello on June 8.

The wild weather was prefaced by a three-hour power outage on June 5 that impacted a large portion of the Empire Electric power system in the evening.

Crews were able to restore power across the system, but only after a series of large and small power outages.

With pandemics, widespread suffering associated with the coronavirus pandemic, social unrest, and wild weather phenomena, the year 2020 continues to march along. What’s next?!

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday