As Utahns worked to clean up damage from Sunday’s flash flooding – flooding that killed a man in Emery County — the National Weather Service expanded a flash flood watch to encompass most of the eastern half of the state on Monday afternoon.
The watch, which will be in effect from noon to 9 p.m., has been issued for Bear Lake and Bear River Valley, Bryce Canyon Country, Castle Country, Glen Canyon Recreation Area/Lake Powell, San Rafael Swell, Sanpete Valley, Sevier Valley, south central Utah, southern mountains, upper Sevier River valleys, Wasatch Back, the Wasatch Mountains from Interstate 80 north, western Canyonlands, western Uinta Basin and western Uinta Mountains.
Thunderstorms that could produce “torrential rainfall are expected this afternoon and early evening on top of already saturated soil,” the NWS warned. And that could produce flash flooding, with the greatest danger in slot canyons, slick rock areas, small streams and normally dry washes, and urban areas. Debris flows are also possible near recent burn scars.
Flash flooding is not expected across Iron and Washington counties on Monday, according to the NWS. The threat in the southern Utah mountains is expected primarily from Bryce Canyon eastward.
According to the Emery County Sheriff’s Office, at about 10:15 p.m. on Sunday a crew was headed to the Gentry Mountain coal mine when they saw a “wall of water and debris” came down Bear Canyon. Three mine vehicles were caught in the flood, and a man in one of the vehicles was swept away and carried downstream.
One man in a 2-person mine vehicle was caught in the flood — he grabbed on to a tree but was unable to maintain his grip and was carried away. His body was located about 6 miles downstream on Wednesday morning. The victim’s name has not been released.
Capitol Reef is the only national park or monument in Utah where flash flooding is expected on Monday, but it’s probable at Arches, Canyonlands, Glen Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Natural Bridges, Grand Gulch and the San Rafael Swell, and possible at Zion, according to the National Weather Service. Flash flooding is possible Tuesday at Arches, but it’s not expected at other Utah national parks.
Drier and warmer air is expected across Utah beginning Tuesday and continuing through Sunday.
Under threatening skies — there’s a 50% chance of rain in Salt Lake City on Monday morning, increasing to 70% in the afternoon — Utahns are cleaning up after Sunday’s storms. School staffers are drying out the gym floor at East High, which suffered $2-3 million in damage in a flash flood in 2017.
Primary Children’s Hospital reported some flooding after roof drains were overwhelmed by the sudden rainfall. Some patients were moved to dry areas and some non-emergency surgeries were rescheduled as the cleanup continued on Monday.
Officials added that the flooding was caused by “overwhelmed” roof drains that were temporarily placed during construction by the hospital. Cleanup at the hospital continued Monday.
Rocky Mountain Power restored electricity to all but about 500 customers in the Salt Lake area.
In Enoch, where more than 2 inches of rain fell in about an hour, Mayor Geoffrey Chesnut declared a state of emergency after the rain flooded “hundreds of … basements and yards and caused a portion of the city wastewater system to be overcome, resulting in sewage backing up into basements.”
While the water in Enoch — a city of about 6,000 about 7 miles northwest of Cedar City — is safe to drink, Chesnut asked residents not to flush toilets and further overtax the system.
US-89 near milepost 310 was closed Monday morning because of flooding, and the Utah Highway Patrol estimated it would remain shut down for 2 to 3 hours. Both Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon reopened; a rock slide had to be cleared in Big Cottonwood.
According to the National Weather Service, its station at the s-turns in Big Cottonwood Canyon — at 6,235 feet — recorded 1.68 inches of rain between 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m. on Sunday. Other rain totals include:
• University of Utah — 1.52 inches.
• Bountiful — 1.5 inches.
• Tooele — 1.13 inches.
• Alta — 0.95 inches.
• South Salt Lake — 0.92 inches.
• Olympus Cove — 0.89 inches.
• Beaver — 0.80 inches.
• Midway — 0.73 inches.
• Parley’s Summit — 0.63 inches.
• Capitol Reef — 0.62 inches.
• Orem — 0.42 inches.
• Hill Air Force Base — 0.4 inches.
• Ogden — 0.4 inches.
• Sandy — 0.38 inches.
• West Valley City — 0.29 inches.
• Cedar City — 0.23 inches.
Multiple homeowners in Stockton are cleaning up after Soldier Creek flooded on Sunday, temporarily closing SR-36 through the Tooele County town. A woman in her 80s was trapped in her home, according to the Stockton Police Department, and was rescued by Stockton firefighters.
This is a developing story, and will be updated.