Many surprised residents woke up to the sounds of limbs breaking from trees – both young and old – and crashing to the ground outside of their windows, on their front lawns, atop electrical lines, rooftops and vehicles.
The trees that had spent the best part of April welcoming spring with their shady camouflaged canopies had barely finished opening their buds when the storm hit Saturday night, and the heavy weight of the wet snowpack quickly became unbearable to even the strongest of timber.
A drive through the small town of Cedar City revealed a scene some compared to walking through a war-zone. Damaged vehicles, downed power lines, broken fences, roadblocks made of gigantic tree limbs and slushy snow littered the roads and made some areas impassable - others unrecognizable.
Dazed residents took to the streets early in the day helping neighbors clear driveways, unblock streets and shovel the almost foot of snow that had layered the city. The sounds of chainsaws and axes, workers and work trucks, were only silenced by the more ominous sounds of trees that had not yet succumb the incredible weight upon them, as they cracked and dropped to the ground beside those brave enough to battle the danger zones.
“It just goes to show who’s in charge,” said Mona Walker, Cedar City resident. “And it certainly isn’t us.”
Like countless others on Mother’s Day, she said her plans for the day changed completely after opening her eyes to discover all of the damage that had occurred on her property while she slept.
Campers, who streamed down state route 14 by the dozens – off the mountain and into the city – hauling loads snowy, wet camp supplies, appeared disappointed by the manner of their departure. Facebook roared with cancellation posts for picnics, barbeques and other holiday gatherings that could not come together, because of the unbelievable "spring" weather.
By noon on Sunday Rocky Mountain Power, www.rockymountainpower.net reported that they had restored power in New Harmony, Hamilton Fort and parts of Cedar City. As of noon today 341 Cedar City customers are still without power and awaiting restoration.
Cedar City officials say they are not quite sure what to do yet, but that they are working hard on figuring out a solution to cleaning up the community. They said they are hoping that neighborhoods will band together to get all of the wood cleared and prepped, and that they are still unsure about how to haul it all out of town.
City representatives said the current focus has to be on high-traffic, commercial areas, city parks, the golf course and cemetery for now, but said they were working to see if they can provide community members with giant sized dumpsters that will be strategically placed throughout the city.
They said that Cedar City Bulloch Pit Class IV Landfill, 1050 N. Lund Hwy, Cedar City, Utah 84720, would receive all loads of debris at no cost during daylight hours.
“Many of us have experienced damage to our beautiful trees due to the heavy snowfall this weekend,” their Cedar City Corporation facebook page reported. “The city is encouraging each neighborhood to work together to haul debris from fallen branches to the Bulloch Pit located on Lund Highway, north of U-56.”
Official say their phones have been ringing nonstop since they got into the office this morning, and they are trying their best to address each concern.
They said that residents should contact their local ward, or stake center, to see what kind of relief The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could offer.