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Flash floods hit Iron County again, putting neighborhoods under water

Posted at 10:34 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 07:30:41-04

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Flash floods again hit parts of Iron County, hammering communities in a county already devastated from weeks of continued floods.

This time, neighborhoods in the county, Cedar City and Kanarraville saw damage to yards and homes.

Heather Conrad drove around the Flying L Ranch and Gemini Meadows area Wednesday, taking video of the flooded-out streets.

"That's not good," she says, as her husband drives through the water.

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"The water-- the mud, I should say-- was clear up to our doors. And that's in a lifted truck," she said.

The neighborhoods are north of the Cedar City Airport. It was near the airport that Conrad said she could see just how high the normally dry Coal Creek was flowing. The creek flows right in between the Flying L Ranch and Gemini Meadows neighborhoods.

Laura Leavitt's parents own a home along the creek. She said her mom called her at 4 am, saying there was water in the house.
They quickly Facetimed, and Leavitt said her parent's backyard looked like a river.

In the morning, volunteers rushed in, but so did another wave of water.

Everyone had just gotten the overnight flooding under control when the next flood hit.

Read - Delta City hit hard by rain, flooding as fear of more rain looms

"All of a sudden, 'Everyone go. Everyone get out, there's more water coming,'" Leavitt recounted. "My mom and my grandma were in the house, and my sister and several other women, and they evacuated them in the bucket of a loader."

A picture shows the women in the bucket of the front loader, after it drove them safely to the street.

After the women made it out, mud and water rushed through the entire one-story home and Leavitt's father's mechanic business.

"They have a shop out there that has his entire livelihood in it that's just gone," she said.

All of their furniture will need to be replaced, Leavitt said, and the home's foundation is showing damage.

All because the very creek the family thought would protect their home, instead flooded it.

Read - Severe weather, flooding brings damage to streets, homes across Utah

Leavitt said Coal Creek is meant to help divert water in an emergency. She said city engineers showed up Wednesday to figure out what happened.

"Water should never go over it, it shouldn't," Leavitt said. "It's made in a way that there's other outlets that it should feed into, so it doesn't flood these areas."

Iron County Emergency Management told FOX 13 that several log jam blockages in Coal Creek a hundred yards each caused the breaches. They were working Wednesday to unjam the blockages, and were racing against the clock to clear things up ahead of another flood watch that was extended until 6 am Thursday.

"It's heartbreaking," Leavitt said, tearing up. "It's the strangest thing to be afraid of the weather now."

Leavitt said the one thing keeping her parents moving forward is all the volunteers who showed up out of nowhere to clean up, and support them.

"We're very grateful still for this community that we live in, for all of the people who show up without even being contacted, and without ever even knowing who we are and just being willing to help," she said, adding, "And I know in the days to come, it'll still be that way."