Utah Flooding Traps 150 at National Monument, Closes Roads

September 9, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY  — Cleanup efforts began Sunday after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides around Utah County that stranded 150 people at a popular recreation site and forced dozens of homeowners to evacuate.

The National Weather Service reported that three-quarters of an inch of rain fell in just 15 minutes around Alpine on Saturday.

Flooding was also reported in areas of Provo, Orem and Payson, though no evacuations were ordered in those areas, the Deseret News reported.

Saturday's pounding rain even caused a two-hour delay of the BYU-Texas football game, as shown in the YouTube video above.

Alpine city officials issued an evacuation order for about 100 residents after downpours turned roads into rivers. The order was later lifted.

Mudslides also forced the closures of State Route 92 in American Fork Canyon and stranded about 150 people at Timpanogos Cave National Monument until the road was reopened late Saturday night.

Stranded people were taken to the visitor center, where the snack bar fed them, Jim Ireland, monument superintendent, said. Rangers showed videos and presented interpretive programs, and all visitors and employees were out of the monument by 11:30 p.m.

The monument remained closed Sunday as rangers had to clear a large amount of debris from the cave trail, Ireland said. The monument could stay closed Monday if another thunderstorm produces heavy rain Sunday.

Hundreds of volunteers showed up Sunday in Alpine to fill sandbags in preparation for the next wave of heavy rain, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Volunteers cleared gutters, drains, culverts and ditches in an effort to minimize the flooding from coming storms, said Gary Vaughn, a member of Alpine's emergency preparedness committee.

The worst flooding occurred around the Quail Hollow wildfire burn scar, which has little vegetation remaining to help prevent storm runoff. Water poured down the mountainside into nearby neighborhoods.

Officials said 12 homes were damaged, but no injuries were reported. Flooding damage was also reported in Santaquin and Orem.

Alpine residents are being asked to boil water from the municipal water supply because Saturday's storm caused a water main break.

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