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Temps dip as Utah flood fears rise from Tropical Storm Ivo

Published August 24, 2013 12:38 pm

Weather • High-water warnings issued for central and southern parts of the state.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A forecast of mild temperatures and patchy clouds offered a pleasant weekend for many Utahns, even as some smaller communities recovered from flooding and braced for more.

First, the good news: Saturday reached a high of 83 degrees in Salt Lake City. That comparably mild heat — it was the hottest July ever, after all — will continue Sunday and Monday, with highs in the mid-80s.

Next, the bad news: the National Weather Service is predicting "a large-scale weather event" this weekend, with significant rainfall and potential flooding in southern and central Utah.

Christine Kruse, a weather service meteorologist, said the rain is coming from Tropical Storm Ivo, which Saturday was near Baja California. As the storm moves north, Kruse explained, it will shear apart and move into Utah, producing as much as 3 inches of rain in some areas. The weather service has issued a flood warning for the southern and central parts of the state, and Kruse said burn scars, slot canyons and dry washes could be particularly impacted.

Northern Utah also may see some rain, she said.

"Salt Lake and Provo are kind of on the edge of the storm," Kruse said.

Flooding affected parts of Salt Lake County on Saturday night. The Utah Red Cross announced it was helping two people relocate after their apartment in Midvale became uninhabitable because of flooding.

As of 7 p.m. Saturday, parts of the Salt Lake Valley saw more than half an inch of rain in some places. The weather service measured .78 inches in Salt Lake City, .63 inches in Murray, .54 inches in Midvale and .37 inches in Draper.

Southern Utah saw even more rainfall, including .84 inches in Cedar City, a record daily amount. Beaver was hit with 1.25 inches.

Saturday morning, people in Alpine were still cleaning up from their own rainy weather. According to Lone Peak Police Sgt. Brandon Verde, a flood washed through the northern Utah County city Friday. Fire crews and volunteers were still on the scene Saturday pumping out water and clearing debris. The flood scattered debris in yards and damaged at least one basement but Verde said no additional flooding happened Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Verde said the flood washed a top layer of soil and debris down from the surrounding hills. The debris came from the burn scar of the Quail Fire, which charred the surrounding hillsides in 2012. During Friday's flooding, the debris moved south and west through the city, forcing road closures, Verde said.

Debris also flowed from a burn scar in Emery County on Friday. Kruse said rain fell throughout the day, pushing water and dirt from the Seeley Fire burn scar onto State Road 31 near Huntington Canyon. The Utah Department of Transportation on Saturday night closed SR 31 in that area.

Kruse said no more rain fell Friday night or Saturday morning near the Seeley burn scar.

Though the storms have the potential to cause havoc, they also mean something of a reprieve from the heat for southern Utah. According to Weather service, highs should fall from the mid 90s Saturday to around 90 degrees by Monday.

Elsewhere, the forecasters warned of flooding conditions in portions of central, northern and southern Utah.

A flash flood warning was in effect for central Kane County until 7:15 p.m. Saturday. Forecasters indicated lingering showers in the area could cause heavy runoff to occur along Seaman Wash and Johnson Lakes Canyon.

The weather service also issued a flood watch for Sunday and Monday for flooding potential in areas along Ogden Canyon and the Wasatch Front into parts of Sanpete and Sevier counties. South central utah, including parts of Utah's Dixie and Zion National Park also could be affected.

Forecasters predicted widespread rainfall that could move into southern Utah Sunday afternoon and spread into central and eastern Utah by the evening. Burn scars, dry washes and slot canyons could especially be at risk for debris flow, the weather service said.

Many Utahns will be able to breathe easy this weekend as well. The Utah Division of Air Quality forecasted clean, "green" quality air across the state through Monday. However, Intermountain Allergy and Asthma reported that there will be high levels of chenopods and moderate levels of sage in the air.

Highs in Salt Lake City should reach 91 Saturday and 87 Sunday; Provo looked for 88 and 84 degrees, respectively; Ogden 88 and 86; Logan 86 both days; Wendover 89 and 87; Duchesne 79 and 74; Cedar City 82 and 74; St. George 96 and 87; Park City 77 and 74; and Moab 89 and 83.

Tribune Reporter Kimball Bennion contributed to this report.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii