Heavy rains trigger mudslide, displacing families in South Weber

Published: Friday, Feb. 28 2014 11:00 a.m. MST

SOUTH WEBER, Davis County — Heavy rain Thursday caused a mudslide that displaced several South Weber families from their homes overnight.

About 1.34 inches of rain triggered a late-night mudslide behind a set of four homes near 7700 South and 1650 East. The slide ran down a 300-yard hill, spanning 30 feet to 40 feet in width and about 200 feet in length.

Davis County sheriff's deputies received notice of heavy water flow on the hillside around 12:30 a.m. Friday, according to Davis County Undersheriff Brent Peters.

An emergency management responder spent the night in the areas, and between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. found that the mud was sloughing in the same area as one that hit eight years ago when a retention pond, filled to the brim, spilled over on the hill.

In 2006, a mudslide ran through the Davis-Weber canal and slammed into the back of a house. The force of impact shoved the cars in the garage through the garage doors and moved the house off its foundation. A 4-year-old girl's leg was broken when falling debris hit her. Twenty families were evacuated from their homes.

Officials were concerned about a similar impact with Friday's slide, so they urged residents in four homes to evacuate.

"It was like a waterfall with rocks and mud, and you could hear the rocks and the mud," said David Hoggan, who lives near the area where the slide hit.

This is the third time Hoggan and his family have been evacuated. Twice in 2006, for the mudslide and a house explosion, and again Friday.

"I think we were living on, like, an Indian burial ground or something like that," Hoggan said.

As of midday, the mud was still 50 yards away from the homes, according to Peters. The evacuation order remained in place once the sun came out Friday, but families were able to return to their homes by 6 p.m.

"It's really more of a slough than a really big slide," Peters said.

Davis County and South Weber public works officials were assessing the scene to determine how to prevent further slides during additional rainfall expected Friday night.

According to Peters, a team of engineers worked with city and county public works officers digging lateral channels at the top of the hill to divert water from Friday night's storm away from the homes. Meanwhile, residents and volunteers set up a three-deep wall of sandbags.

Peters was optimistic there would not be any further problems Friday night, though if the rains resume, another voluntary evacuation might be activated.

"I don't think that storm (will be) as significant as the monster we had last night," Peters said Friday afternoon.

The community hoped that Friday's sun would dry out the hill before the evening's rain hit.

"Mother Nature caused it. We're hoping Mother Nature helps us out today, too," Peters said.

Contributing: Haley Smith, Cleon Wall

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

Twitter: whitevs7

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