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Utah flooding hits schools, homes as wet weather continues

Published: Saturday, Sept. 14 2013 9:08 p.m. MDT

City crews work on flooding issues near Herrriman High School due to heavy rain in Herriman on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) City crews work on flooding issues near Herrriman High School due to heavy rain in Herriman on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

HERRIMAN — Heavy rains caused flooding problems Saturday, particularly in areas of southern Salt Lake County, where water went over roads and into homes and schools.

In Herriman, flooding near 11600 South and 6000 West sent water into two buildings of the Farmgate Apartment complex around 3 p.m., affecting 18 apartment units and displacing 10 people, Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Mecham said.

A minimal amount of water also entered nearby Herriman High School, but the water level later abated and crews were working on cleanup efforts. Mecham said it did not appear that the flooding would impede classes from being held Monday morning.

Between 50 and 75 volunteers worked Saturday to prepare sandbags in the area in the event of future flooding, and the Red Cross assisted apartment owners who had been displaced.

Heavy equipment is covered in water due to heavy rain in South Jordan on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Heavy equipment is covered in water due to heavy rain in South Jordan on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

"The level of water has plateaued," the captain said. "The only thing we're worried about is Mother Nature throwing us a curveball and having more water come down."

The Red Cross was providing help as needed but did not open a shelter for displaced residents, said spokesman Scott West, adding that the apartment complex had been working to help those whose homes were damaged by the water.

"We will be supplying cots and other things they need," West said.

Just over the town line from Herriman, flood water entered the basements of 11 homes in the Sunstone subdivision at 11800 South and 5900 West, said South Jordan's associate director of Public Works, Aaron Sainsbury.

Roughly 125 volunteers assisted in diverting water and preparing sandbags, Sainsbury said. He was not certain of the extent of the damage to the 11 homes but said they had been hit by several inches of water, enough to saturate carpet.

Children look over their fence as city crews work on flooding issues due to heavy rain in South Jordan on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Children look over their fence as city crews work on flooding issues due to heavy rain in South Jordan on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Crews were working to drain retention ponds in the area in anticipation of continued rain and planned to pump water out of the subdivision until late Saturday night.

"If we get any more rain, then we want to have a little bit of a buffer in the ponds," he said.

In West Jordan, all southbound lanes of the Mountain View Corridor were closed Thursday afternoon near the Old Bingham Highway as the Utah Department of Transportation worked to drain retention ponds in anticipation of flooding.

West Jordan Fire Battalion Chief Clint Peterson said between six and 10 apartments were flooded at the Willshire Apartment complex at 9200 South and 6400 West. The area had seen minor flooding Friday night, but flood waters ultimately overwhelmed the sandbagging and trenching efforts put in place there.

City crews work on flooding issues due to heavy rain in South Jordan on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) City crews work on flooding issues due to heavy rain in South Jordan on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

"Apparently during that process of damming things up, the dam broke due to the pressure of the water and it caused a lot of major flooding this time," Petersen said. "We’re doing what we can. We’ve got boulders, we’ve got weeds, sticks, everything in apartments right now."

Saturday's flooding was among the most severe Peterson has seen in West Jordan. Days of wet weather had saturated the ground, he said, leading to flood areas that passed through fields picking up dirt and debris.

"It’s not just clear water, it’s a muddy mess," he said.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City also reported flooding in Capitol Reef National Park and thunderstorms impacting Goblin Valley, St. George and Zion National Park.

City crews work on flooding issues at Herrriman High School due to heavy rain in Herriman on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) City crews work on flooding issues at Herrriman High School due to heavy rain in Herriman on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

KSL meteorologist Lynae Miyer said there will likely be lingering showers into Sunday morning, but then a new drier and warmer weather system is expected to enter the state.

"I think by (Sunday) night we should be done with the rain, but we could see some (Sunday) morning," Miyer said. "We're dealing with the worst of it now, but it's only going to get better."

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