Many areas of Utah were picking up the pieces in the wake of flash floods, lightning strikes, power outages, washed out roads and a myriad of other weather-related problems Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fickle weather even dropped 4 inches of summer snow on a Girl Scout camp near Mt. Holly in Beaver County, forcing leaders to take one girl suffering from hypothermia to the hospital. But by late Wednesday morning, Beaver County Sheriff officials said the sun was shining and the other Scouts did not want to go home.Flash floods washed out roads, covered a section of U.S. 89 with 4 feet of mud in Piute County and bogged down search and rescue vehicles investigating reports of a mid-air explosion in Beaver County.
Lightning caused several small fires statewide and injured one Plain City man, who lost part of his left index finger when it stuck to a power panel box in his home.
Before the storm had subsided Wednesday morning, many communities, stretching from Plain City in Weber County on the north to Leeds and Pintura in Washington County on the south, were assessing the damage.
Areas hardest hit include:
- Escalante, Garfield County, where a flash flood and 2.23 inches of rain within 18 hours nearly overwhelmed the town's new sewage system and flooded out many of its some 750 residents. Of the total precipitation, 1.45 inches fell within 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon, said meteorologist William J. Alder of the National Weather Service.
- The Pine Valley area in Washington County, where high runoff swished through an area devastated by a large forest fire two years ago.
- Lava Point, a ranger lookout point in the northwest corner of Zion National Park, where 3 inches of rain fell Tuesday evening and early Wednesday. At park headquarters, a total of 1.49 inches of precipitation was recorded.
- Pintura, Washington County, where 2 inches of rain fell between about 10 p.m. Tuesday and sunrise Wednesday.
- Piute County, where U.S. 89 was covered with up to 4 feet of mud from flash floods Tuesday night in the Piute Reservoir area.
- Beaver County, where rain and mud was slowing an investigation Wednesday morning by the Beaver County Sheriff's Office into a reported mid-air explosion near Manderfield, and where roads were washed out and unexpected snow nearly froze one girl scout.
Beaver County Sheriff's dispatcher Glen Buffington said, "We had three different truckers report an explosion in mid-air about daybreak and a report from a rancher that a helicopter was in the area at the time.
"We have search and rescue out looking for wreckage, but two of the units are stuck in mud," he said. The Civil Air Patrol was expected to join the search in late morning.
Buffington said the snow and rain also led to flooding of several condominiums in the Mount Holly area and had washed out several roads throughout Beaver County.
The major north-south highway, U.S. 89 just north of Junction, Piute County, was covered with up to 4 feet of mud after flash flooding began there about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Utah Highway Patrol dispatcher Kevin Bradshaw.
"There was a lot of flooding in a one-mile area at three different portions. The flash flooding plugged culverts and caused flooding over the road. As much as 4 feet of mud covered some parts of the highway. The Utah Department of Transportation had three front-end loaders out working overnight to remove it," Bradshaw said.
Other minor flooding and lightning-caused fires were reported by sheriff's dispatchers in Iron, Kane and Millard counties.
While the major part of the storm was centered in southern Utah, Salt Lake Valley also was hit.
A fast-moving front that pushed through the valley about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday caused two widespread power outages and numerous smaller outages as gusting winds blew down power lines throughout Salt Lake County.
South Jordan City Councilman Ted W. Sandstrom still had energy to attend to a meeting of the council Tuesday night, even though Sandstrom, also the city's fire chief, had been out on a number of telephone pole fires caused by the windstorm.
The storm kept other local fire departments busy, as a number of small power line fires were sparked by the downed lines. South Jordan volunteer firefighters responded to four problems in that city.
Officials said the turbulent winds caused only minor problems, but crews were hard pressed to respond quickly because there were so many of them. In Plain City, Weber County, a bolt of lightning struck a home about 5 a.m. Tuesday, injuring Gary Jackson, 47, when he went to his house's power panel to shut off the electricity after hearing crackling and other noises in the furnace.
"I reached for the power panel and had my finger in the loop handle on the door when I realized it was energized, and I couldn't get my finger out. I tried to pull my hand away but my left index finger was wrapped around the loop," said Jackson, who lost the tip of the finger to the first joint.
Escalante Police Chief Kent Robinson said the flash flood in that community covered a 1 to 1 1/2-square- mile swath through the town.