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Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

Intense rainstorm causes widespread flooding in Uintah County

By Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Aug. 27 5:48 p.m. MDT

 Volunteers load sand bags into a pickup truck in Vernal following heavy rains that led to flash flooding Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The storm sent a river of water rushing through downtown Vernal and led to more flooding in the Cedar Ridge subdivision west of town, which has already been inundated with water several times over the past week.

Volunteers load sand bags into a pickup truck in Vernal following heavy rains that led to flash flooding Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The storm sent a river of water rushing through downtown Vernal and led to more flooding in the Cedar Ridge subdivision west of town, which has already been inundated with water several times over the past week.

(Geoff Liesik, Deseret News)

VERNAL — An intense rainstorm that dumped more than an inch of water on the Vernal area early Wednesday touched off flash floods throughout Uintah County.

The storm boiled up over the county's west side about 11:30 a.m. Within 20 minutes, so much rain had fallen in downtown Vernal that drivers were pushing aside waves of standing water as they drove through the intersection at U.S. 40 and Vernal Avenue.

By noon, Uintah County Emergency Management Director Tal Ehlers had put out a call for volunteers to help fill sandbags. Scores of people answered the call, arriving at Western Park armed with shovels.

"We've filled probably in the vicinity of 6,000 to 7,000 sandbags this afternoon," Ehlers said.

"We want people to be prepared," he added. "If they've had some flooding or think they're going to have some more flooding, we have sandbags down here and we'd like people to come pick those up, take them to their homes and do what they can to prepare."

Officials are also urging people to use caution while driving, especially if they encounter areas of standing water or water moving across a road.

"Underneath that water, you might think it's shallow, but there could be silt or obstacles under there and we certainly don't want to see anyone get stuck in flood waters," Ehlers said.

Damage reports were still coming in Wednesday night from around the county. Anyone with damage as a result of the flooding is asked to call 435-781-5470 or 435-781-5468. Those who need sandbags to protect their homes can pick them up in the parking lot of the Ashley Valley Food Pantry in Vernal just east of Western Park, 200 S. 300 East

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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