Heavy Utah rains to ease, but too late for many homeowners
Landslides • Saturated soils give way in North Salt Lake and Emery, Carbon counties.
Published: August 5, 2014 07:51AM
Updated: August 5, 2014 11:31PM
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Courtesy Emery County Sheriff's Office SR 31 in Huntington Canyon remains closed after yesterdayís storms over the Seeley Fire burn scar resulted in debris flows and flooding. The road is closed between MP23 and MP33.

The rains that have triggered flooding and mudslides this week were expected to ease going into the midweek, but that will come too late for homeowners in northern and central Utah.

As a new cycle of storms saturated hillsides in Carbon and Emery counties late Monday, water and mud poured into the basements of an estimated 100 homes in those central Utah counties’ communities. Price and Helper reported some of the worst damage, but the towns of Spring Glen, Carbonville and Westwood suffered from water and mud, too.

Carbon County Airport, north of Price, had .68 inches of rain Monday and Castledale recorded .84 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

No injuries were reported and cleanup was underway Tuesday.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s staff confirmed it was monitoring the situation both in Carbon and Emery counties, which expected more rain Tuesday night, as well as the ongoing crisis in North Salt Lake where more than 20 homes were evacuated — and one destroyed — by an early morning landslide.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the governor’s office said neither it nor the Utah Department of Public Safety had received requests for state assistance in the affected areas.

“We remind residents and those in neighboring, unaffected areas it is essential to keep affected areas clear of unnecessary traffic to allow local first responders to perform their duties,” the governor’s statement added.

The Wasatch Front looked for isolated showers Tuesday afternoon and again in the evening, but Wednesday was expected to bring drier weather. Daytime temperatures were to range in the low to mid-80s.

Southern Utah looked for a similar forecast with sunny skies on Wednesday after another wet Tuesday. Highs in the low to mid-90s were predicted.

A Flash Flood Watch was in effect for much of northern, western and central Utah through midnight Tuesday. From Logan running south through Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo to Richfield; west to Wendover; and east to Price, forecasters warned of elevated flooding risks for slot canyons, normally dry washes and recent burn scars.

Meanwhile, numerous slides in Emery County late Monday forced closure of State Road 31, a prime rural arterial for the central Utah region. The Utah Department of Transportation reported the road up Huntington Canyon had been cleared for travel as of 4:45 p.m.

There was no estimate for when the road could be reopened.

The worst of the flooding and slides occurred on the slopes denuded by the 2012 Seeley Wildfire, as recent heavy rains undid work to reseed and rehabilitate the region.

At least the atmosphere was clear. The Utah Division of Air Quality rated the entire state as “green,” or healthy.

The Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website listed only mold as “high” while chenopods were at “moderate” on its pollen index as of Tuesday.

Visit the Tribune’s weather page (http://www.sltrib.com/weather) for more extensive, localized forecast content.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims