Heavy rains flood Utah streets, cause dozens of crashes

Thunder claps and torrential rains rolled over the Wasatch Front as the Friday morning commute began, triggering a slew of slideoffs and crashes as water pooled on the region’s roads and flooded numerous urban intersections.

By 11 a.m., Utah Highway Patrol troopers had scrambled to more than 60 collisions on state roads and interstate freeways. More than a dozen accidents were reported in the Salt Lake Valley‘s municipal jurisdictions by public safety dispatchers. No serious injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

The heavy rainfall led to several reports of street flooding as drains were overwhelmed. The Salt Lake City Fire Department reported pooling water on several streets between 100 E. 800 South and 900 E. 400 South, and water rose up to bumper-level along downtown Salt Lake City’s 400 West.

Public safety dispatchers also reported localized street flooding in low-lying sections of West Valley City and South Salt Lake.

The deluge prompted the National Weather Service to issue a “Flood Advisory” for urban areas of Salt Lake and Utah counties for a two-hour period ending at 12:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service estimated anywhere from a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain — possibly more in isolated locations — fell during the storm’s first two hours. Intermittent showers continued into the late-morning hours, and fresh snow was reported at appropriately named Snowbird Resort.

Storm clouds began to make an eastern exit by early afternoon. Still, it was a wet, wild prologue to the clear, sunny skies and high temperatures in the mid-60s expected for Saturday in the Salt Lake and Tooele valleys — a degree or two warmer than forecast Friday. Sunday’s highs, under partly cloudy horizons, will be in the mid-70s.

The morning’s precipitation registered some impressive totals throughout the region. While Salt Lake City ranged from nearly a half-inch downtown and 0.86 inches along the benches, that was nothing compared to 1.43 inches measured in West Weber, 1.22 in Harrisville, 1.15 in South Ogden, 1.14 in Payson, 1.13 in North Salt Lake, and 1.10 inches in Bountiful by 10 a.m.

Southern Utahns got a pass from the rainy weather as the week came to an end. Mostly clear, sunny conditions were forecast Saturday and Sunday with temperatures in the low- to mid-80s — a few degrees warmer than Friday’s readings.

Allergy sufferers get a break this weekend. The Utah Division of Air Quality gave uniform "green,” or healthy grades statewide.

The Intermountain Allergy & Asthma website had good, and not so good news: Ragweed and mold came in as “high” Friday, while sagebrush and chenopods were measured “medium.”