Carbon County residents sift through damage after severe flooding

Posted at 6:40 PM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-26 20:40:06-04

CARBON COUNTY, Utah - Before Shelly McKinnon moved into her new home last week, she had heard Wellington had only seen one flood in the last 100 years. Imagine her surprise when the rain started falling last Thursday night.

"Around 11 o'clock a couple ladies knocked on the door," McKinnon said. "They asked where we would like the sandbags.  I didn't know what they were talking about."

Heavy rains Thursday caused the nearby Price River began to swell and overflow into the nearby area, where dozens of homes were within reach.

"When we left Thursday night, there was six inches on the ground," McKinnon said when they were evacuated. "When we got in Friday morning, there was over four feet."

McKinnon's basement was completely flooded. Making matters worse, she said that she and her husband made plans to paint the main floor of the home, and placed all their furniture downstairs to make room.

"My friend is an insurance agent," McKinnon said. "She thinks there about $200,000 of damage between the home and the furniture."

McKinnon said her house doesn't sit in a flood zone and that she had not acquired supplementary insurance just yet.

On Monday, she sifted through her damaged property. Despite the heavy heart, signs of positivity were reflected everywhere. Her sister brought her fresh flowers to place on a refrigerator that sat in her driveway.

On the freezer drawer a brown smiley face was drawn on in mud.

"Well, you have to because a lot of the volunteers were crying and upset," McKinnon said. "So, I didn't want them to come over and see me upset. I've tried to make it lighthearted. All this is just stuff," she added pointing to what's left.

In the wake of last week's distraction, many in Wellington wonder how a flood of this magnitude could happen twice in three years.

"This is a problem area that could have been taken care of by drudging the area, clearing the debris out of the river so the water could stay in the channel," contends Brett Abrams a resident of Wellington.

Many in the town say Wellington city officials reached out in hopes of getting $600,000 of funding to clear the nearby Price River, but contend they only received $30,000. A call to the City Mayor's office to confirm went unanswered and a message unreturned as of Monday night.

Meanwhile, those left in Price are afraid to install new furniture or appliances in fear the 'storm' hasn't passed yet.

"Oh yeah," Abrams confirms. "Unless they clear the river out that's exactly what's going to happen. If we got another rain next week, this will be a repeat."