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Rains cause slides, floods in Utah

First Published      Last Updated Aug 04 2014 10:37 pm

Heavy rains caused floods and mudslides across Utah on Monday, particularly on the scar of a 2012 wildfire in Emery County, where dozens of slides have washed away attempts to rehabilitate slopes above a state highway.

Since the Seeley Wildfire burned more than 48,000 acres in Huntington Canyon near State Road 31 two years ago, the scar has been remarkably prone to debris flows, said National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney. Monday's storms caused the 24th such flow, closing the highway at least until Tuesday morning. Previous efforts to re-seed the canyon were flummoxed by floods in 2013.

"They've wrecked roads and bridges," McInerney said.

Other burn scars closer to population centers narrowly missed Monday's rains, with storms barely bypassing bare slopes near Saratoga Springs and Alpine.

Farther north, the roof of a commercial building collapsed Monday night in Salt Lake City, where 1.6 inches of rain fell within an hour around 8 p.m., McInerney said.

The building, at 2295 W. Custer Road (1775 South), likely had a clogged storm drain, which caused pressure to build and collapse a 20-foot by 20-foot section of the roof, said Salt Lake City fire spokesman Jasen Asay. Two people were inside, but neither was hurt.

In the Avenues, overloaded sewers sent water out of manhole covers and street flooding was reported throughout Salt Lake and Utah counties, McInerney said.