Rain, debris flow prompt evacuations in Alpine
Multiple homes in Alpine were damaged Saturday evening after heavy rain poured debris and muddy water through parts of town near the Quail Hollow burn scar.
City council member Kimberly Bryant said the Utah County town had been bracing for the possibility of flood damage for the past few weeks. A retention basin that was built after the 2012 Quail Hollow fire overflowed Saturday, but the damage could have been much worse if the city hadn't been proactive in keeping the basin clear of debris, Bryant said.
Rivers of mud and silt ran through the streets in neighborhoods closest to the burn scar. As the storm passed through, rainfall as heavy as three-quarters of an inch in 15 minutes gushed through neighborhoods on the east side of town. At its height, the flow was about 40 feet wide and 10 feet deep, Bryant said. In all, the storm lasted about 45 minutes.
Alpine briefly evacuated all residents east of Grove Drive from Box Elder Drive to 300 North.
"I've lived here all my life," Bryant said. "Forty-five years and I've never seen this."
After the brief but violent storm passed, many Alpine residents got to work filling sand bags at the Alpine City Shop and delivering them to those who needed them.
By 8 p.m., the flow had slowed down but was still about ankle deep, Bryant said.
"There's still a lot of work to be done," she said."
The storm moved throughout Utah County and partly into Salt Lake County before dying out at about 7 p.m. Saturday. The Utah Department of Transportation closed several roads that had filled up with debris, including State Road 92, in American Fork Canyon. The Provo Daily Herald reported Saturday that 150 people were stranded at the Timpanogos Cave visitor's center, between the mouth of American Fork Canyon and the cave entrance, because of mudslides on SR 92.
The people above the cave entrance were able to get out on the Provo Canyon side, but others stuck between the road closures were stranded as crews worked to clear debris from the road. The paper reported that people were left waiting in cars, at the visitor's center or in the caves themselves. UDOT reported at 9:30 p.m. that crews were working hard to clear the debris.
The storm also wreaked havoc in Provo and Orem, with dark clouds and lightning delaying the start of the Brigham Young University and University of Texas game at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Kickoff, originally scheduled for 5 p.m., was delayed for two hours, and fans were told to leave the stadium until the storm passed.
The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City also reported closed roads and flooded streets in Orem, where power was temporarily knocked out for approximately as many as 2,000 Rocky Mountain Power customers. Utah Red Cross also reported that at least one apartment in Orem was damaged by flooding.
The NWS reported heavy rain throughout the southern Wasatch Front, including more than an inch in Pleasant Grove, 0.7 inches in Spanish Fork, and half an inch in Lehi and Taylorsville.