MURRAY — A thunderstorm dumped over an inch of rain within minutes in parts of Salt Lake County Tuesday afternoon, causing rush hour flooding on surface streets as well as basement flooding.
The sudden downpour overwhelmed a broken, 72-inch storm drain, sending a wall of water into a Murray neighborhood. Around 20 to 25 homes were flooded, said Murray City Fire Department spokesman Russ Groves. Some basements filled with four to six feet of water, and residents have been displaced from their homes.
The Salt Lake County storm drain is a couple blocks west the neighborhood near 5400 South and 1100 West in Murray. “It was under repair, but it didn’t get fixed in time,” for the sudden downpour, Groves said. “It’s just really unfortunate.”
Gas and power to the neighborhood had to be cut off until water can be removed and it's safe to restore utilities to the homes, he added. The Utah chapter of the American Red Cross opened a temporary shelter at Murray High School for any county residents displaced by flooding.
The Murray residents in the area said they were taken by surprise.
In his stocking feet, Reggie Robinson swept water from his driveway with a push broom. He was watching TV when it started raining, he said, but didn’t think much of it.
Then, “the door just busted open and water just came rushing in there,” he said. “I got up, and it kept coming and coming in, and I got on the couch, grabbing stuff trying to get everything off the floor.”
Cheryl Leithead said the entire incident lasted about 20 minutes. She saw water coming down the street, getting higher and higher. Then, logs started floating down the street, she said.
“We thought, ‘We’re in trouble,’” Leithead said. Water was waist deep in their basement, and the hot tub in their backyard was floating.
“This is crazy,” resident Sean Vinson added. “I’ve been here three years and never seen anything like this.”
One neighbor stood knee deep in water, as he worked to keep debris from clogging the storm drain. Kids in swim trunks waded through the water, looking for ways to help, and makeshift bucket brigades formed to bail water from inundated basements.
The worst problems in Salt Lake County were concentrated along the 5400 South corridor from about Redwood Road in Murray to 3200 West in Kearns, according to Unified Fire Capt. Cliff Burningham.
The extreme rainfall also damaged the roadway and drain system in the area of 2700 West and 6200 South, forcing the road's closure until it can be repaired, Taylorsville Police Sgt. Tracy Wyant said.
The worst problems in Salt Lake County were concentrated along the 5400 South corridor from about Redwood Road in Murray to 3200 West in Kearns, according to Unified Fire Capt. Cliff Burningham.4 comments on this story
The Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service reported flooded intersections and displaced manhole covers along Bangerter Highway. The 5400 South intersections at Bangerter Highway and 4000 were impassable for a time — up to the bottoms of car doors in places. And, the 7800 South/4800 West intersection took nine inches of water, the weather center reported.
About an hour after the Salt Lake County downpour, another storm cell soaked parts of Utah County. An Orem-Lindon emergency dispatcher reported receiving about seven calls related to flooded basements and garages, as wells as other calls for clogged storm drains.
“It was just a massive amount of water in a short amount of time,” she said.
The weather service reported 1.37 inches of rain fell in Taylorsville and 1.04 inches in Cottonwood Heights.