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Eyewitness News at 10pm (Sept. 8th)
Highlights of Tornado Home Video
MANTI, Utah (AP) _ Gov. Michael Leavitt declared a disaster emergency Monday after traveling to Manti to look at the damage from Sunday's tornado.
Officials say the damage total is likely to top $1 million, with six homes destroyed and two dozen others damaged.
Sanpete County Sheriff's Lt. Rick Howe estimates that 200 to 300 volunteers showed up to help, but had to be stopped when they were helping too much.
"We've had to actually ask the volunteers to hold off for a little while. The (Federal Emergency Management Agency) people haven't had a chance to completely assess the disaster area," he said.
No one was injured by the twister, a fact emergency worker Peter Case attributed to timing. "A lot of people were in church," he said.
Residents reported seeing the funnel cloud touch down at 1:50 p.m.
City Manager Bill Mickelson declared a state of emergency. The National Weather Service sent two meteorologists to take measurements Monday.
The meteorologists will conduct interviews and look at structural damage to help them determine the severity of the storm, said Mark Jackson, a National Weather Service spokesman.
"It's difficult to get an estimation by just looking at the visuals on video. The true measure is the damage that's left in the wake," Jackson said.
Dave Sanders, a lead forecaster for the weather service in Salt Lake City, said it appeared to be at least an F1 and possibly an F2 tornado on the Fujita scale, which ascends from F0 to F6. F2 tornadoes have winds of 113 to 157 mph. A final determination is expected Monday or Tuesday.
It caused a mile-long path of destruction, said Kevin Holman, county emergency management director.
The tornado moved across Manti's southwest side before moving east and dissolving over the Wasatch Plateau, said Karen Kahl of the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
Utah records about two tornadoes a year, rarely causing much damage. The last significant twister tore through downtown Salt Lake City on Aug. 11, 1999, killing one man, injuring several others and destroying five houses. It caused more than $150 million in damage.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
September 8, 2002