The following story was in the Moab Independant Times after MD weekend, we had our driveway washed out, again! we have a 4 to 5 ft'deep by 15 ft' long ditch where it was, the flooding was quiet unbelievable but that was nothing compared to what these people had happen to them.
Heavy rains, flash floods strand campers, motorists during Memorial Day weekend
by Lisa J. Church
Heavy rains created flash flooding throughout southeastern Utah, keeping law enforcement and rescue personnel scrambling, and making for a muddy, messy and sometimes frightening weekend for residents and visitors to the Moab area.
In one of the more dangerous incidents, a group of about 18 people traveling in several Jeeps became trapped by a wall of water that rushed down Kane Creek at about 6 p.m. on May 23 near the Grand and San Juan county lines.
A Draper, Utah man and his family had stopped in the canyon to try to repair one of the Jeeps, which had broken down. Several children from the group were playing in the stream when the adults saw several feet of water coming down the canyon, according to a report from the Grand County Sheriff’s Department.
One man yelled for the group to run to higher ground and as they reached the top of the creek bed a wall of water roared through the canyon, Kevin Alsop told KSL news. Two Jeeps were swept downstream by the swift-moving current. Another Jeep in the caravan had been tethered to a tree and was found overturned in the wash after the rush of water subsided.
“Scared out of our mind,” Alsop said. “Had no idea what to think. And when we see the massive force of this water, I mean toppling these Jeeps like they were branches.”
Alsop called 911 from his cell phone and Grand County Sheriff’s deputies began searching for the group, Grand County Chief Deputy Sheriff Curt Brewer said.
It took deputies more than an hour to locate the group because they did not have an exact location and several stream crossings were blocked by high water, Brewer said. After the stranded group was found, Grand County Search and Rescue workers and a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter were called in to help.
The UHP helicopter arrived at about 11:30 p.m. and transported the children and adults to safety, Brewer said.
Grand County Search and Rescue personnel also helped two other groups stranded by flooding on Saturday. About nine people were stranded in Left Hand Canyon near the Power Dam, Brewer said. And a group of about 70 people was stranded along the Green River in Grays Canyon after water washed away the road along the river.
That group was stuck in the canyon overnight because intermittent rainstorms prevented Grand County road crews from getting equipment into the area until Sunday. Grand County deputy Brent Pace said the county’s road equipment was scarce because workers were repairing other areas around the county that had been damaged by weekend flooding. The county contacted Tim Vetere from nearby Green River, who brought a front-end loader to the scene to help with the road repair, Pace said.
None of the people who were stranded were injured, Pace said, but a horse drowned in the river.
“There was a guy riding up the river, and the bank just collapsed right underneath them,” Pace said. “The man and his horse went in the river. He was able to get out, but the horse was pulled downstream and drowned.”
Also on Saturday, a section of U.S. 191 south of Moab was closed for about 30 minutes after a wall of water, mud and debris swept over the roadway, Brewer said. Another stretch of the highway near the Old Spanish Trail Arena was also covered in mud from the rainstorms.
Several homes in Spanish Valley and some condominiums in Rim Village were flooded and sustained water damage, Brewer said. In downtown Moab, the Mill Creek Parkway was temporarily closed by the Moab City Police as high water rushed through the creek drainage, making the parkway impassible.