Microburst causes damage at Downata Hot Springs in Downey

Submitted photo A microburst knocked down trees and branches Thursday in the Downey area, which subsequently damaged a popular waterslide at Downata Hot Springs.

Submitted photo
A microburst knocked down trees and branches Thursday in the Downey area, which subsequently damaged a popular waterslide at Downata Hot Springs.

By Kendra Evensen, kevensen@journalnet.com 

DOWNEY — What appears to have been a microburst in Downey felled multiple trees and large branches and caused significant damage at Downata Hot Springs on Thursday afternoon.

Travis Wyatt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Pocatello, said a thunderstorm that was capable of producing winds of 45 miles per hour or more came through the area around 4:45 p.m. He said a microburst was certainly possible based on the conditions that were present.

Darlene Downs, Downata’s manager, believes that’s what happened.

While she wasn’t present during the actual storm, she’s worked at Downata for nearly 30 years and said she’s never seen the winds cause that much damage before.

She says 10 trees were affected, some falling down and others losing branches.

One large branch hit Downata’s largest waterslide, knocking a hole in it, Downs said. Others damaged a couple of pavilions, took out a section of chain-link fence and struck two RVs, smashing the top in on one and putting a hole in the roof of another.

High winds also blew dirt, leaves and branches into the pool.

While there were people in the pavilions and pool around that time, Downs said no injuries were reported in the incident. She says her staff worked quickly to get visitors indoors.

“They did an awesome job. They got everybody in and safe,” she said, adding that some people did receive weather alerts on their phones.

Downs said she is grateful that the incident happened on Thursday as opposed to the weekend when they are even busier.

They were also able to bring in companies to remove the trees and branches, repair the fence and patch the waterslide with fiber glass.

The popular slide was closed on Friday, but reopened on Saturday.

Downs said they will eventually replace the portion of the slide that was damaged. But the work could take a few months, so they will likely wait until the end of the season.

Downs estimates that the microburst caused at least $10,000 in damage on Thursday.