Residents deal with widespread flooding in Utah County

Posted at 10:48 PM, Sep 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-09 00:48:24-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah -- Crowds gathered around a landslide in Provo Sunday, looking down at a gash cut by floodwaters into the blacktop at 900 North and Grand Avenue.

Kyle Rollins, a professor of civil engineering, was looking at the massive gash in the hillside with his wife and daughter. Rollins said his family just lives a few houses down the street, and they were curious to see the damage.

“It’s a testament to the erosive power of water, isn’t it?” Rollins said.

Dozens of families were cleaning up Sunday after heavy storms rolled through Utah County Saturday night. The National Weather Service said ¾ of an inch fell in approximately 15 minutes, choking storm drains and backing up into homes and streets.

The rain water quickly filled the parking lot at University Mall in Orem. Several shoppers left the mall to find their cars submerged in a foot or more of water.

A few blocks away, neighbors formed bucket brigades to empty flooded driveways and basements.

On 1460 North and Jordan Avenue, rushing water swept the earth under a concrete stairway to Lions Park, leaving the steps suspended in the air.

Provo Police Detective Chris Chambers was working traffic control at the Texas-BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium when the storm hit. Instead of watching the game, Chambers was answering emergency calls from all over the city. When asked, Chambers didn’t know how many calls dispatch received after the storm.

“All I know is dispatch was flooded with calls,” Chambers said.

A dispatch supervisor from Utah County also said she couldn’t say how many calls they received, but it was “a lot.”

Several hardware and rental stores in the valley stayed open late Saturday, so storm victims could get the pumps, generators and other equipment necessary to drain water from their homes.