Nichole Mendel went into the basement of her family's home in West Jordan Tuesday night to check for water damage, little suspecting that she was heading into danger.
While the 14-year-old stood at the south end of the basement, the window at the north end cracked and suddenly burst, water cascading in like a waterfall. "She yelled to me and said, `Mom, we're flooded,' " said her mother, Chris Mendel. "Then she ran up the stairs."All the other windows in the basement burst too, letting in six feet of floodwater.
"We stood at the head of the stairs and watched the water come up the stairs," Chris Mendel said. "We have 10 stairs going down into the basement and it covered six of those stairs."
Ralph and Chris Mendel had just finished putting up sheet rock in the basement, and it was destroyed. They also lost furniture and food stored there.
What hit the home on South Bingham View Drive was a particularly heavy cloudburst that moved off the Oquirrh Mountains. "We had quite a heavy amount of rain," said William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the U.S. Weather Service regional center in Salt Lake City.
His son, who lives in West Jordan, recorded half an inch of rain in about 45 minutes. A rain gauge at another site closer to South Bingham Drive had more than in inch, probably in less than an hour.
"The soils were pretty wet with the previous rains we've had all this month" and couldn't absorb much of the storm's total, Alder said.
Chris Mendel said West Jordan knows that their storm drains in the subdivision "are too small, and every time it rains as hard as it did, it backs up and comes into our yards." Other neighbors were flooded, too.
Personnel in the West Jordan city manager and the city engineer offices could not be reached immediately for comment.