|Green River residents battle to save their home from flood water.|
When it rains, it pours and pour it did in Emery County last week. The hardest hit seemed to be Green River as the flood waters off the San Rafael Swell descended upon the oasis in the desert with a rush of water.
The Emery County Sheriff's Office and the road department as well as the fast action of local citizens who used private equipment to divert the water saved the day for many Green River residents.
Sgt. Mitch Vetere said, "The canals just couldn't hold the water. Farmers opened their ditches and just let the water run through the best they could. The old dikes need to be fixed to protect Green River. We have had land brought into agricultural production that used to be like a drain field and we need to work on getting these issues addressed. The county lent their pumps out to people in the area. We had severe flooding. A number of garages and basements were flooded. The sewer system was just innundated with water. The pumps in the pump station were just overwhelmed and burned out the pumps. Alternate pumps were brought in for the sewer system. Water was running under the manufactured homes in the area.
"A number of people brought loaders and were scooping up water and just letting it run down the roads. The backhoe from state parks, weed and mosquito and construction company owner Dan Harrison used their equipment to stop the flooding into homes by diverting the water. Some streets were just running streams of water. The drains are just not big enough to handle this kind of runoff. Something needs to be done. The water just needs a place to go.
"The ground is just saturated. You can't get off the road anywhere without getting stuck. One girl tried to cross a wash in her dad's truck and the truck was just swept away. Her dad rescued her downstream and she was on the top of the truck. The truck just sunk in the mud. Some kids also went down and broke the windows out of the truck where it came to a rest. So now they will be charged with criminal mischief.
"We also found one teenager swimming in a field that was covered in water. It's a good thing they got him out because the water was really cold. We also had some cattle stranded in flooded fields and they had to be taken to higher ground. The boys getting them out were chest deep in water.
"Some of the watermelon fields were flooded and the watermelons were just floating on top of the water. So the rest of the watermelon crop is likely lost now.
"The Green River went from flowing 2,000 cfs to 12,000 cfs during the flooding time. I couldn't believe the trash in the river either. There was a lot of burned stuff coming down from the fires this summer. It just filled the river with tons of debris," said Sgt. Vetere.
Green River will need to look at getting the dikes fixed. The Army Corp. of Engineers are the ones who built the original dike up by the Green River High School. The canals just can't handle the flow of water and the water jumped out of the canal causing the flooding along Pirate Road.
The San Rafael River also saw a sharp upswing during the flooding period as it rose from its normal flow of 30-40 cfs to 2,750 cfs on Oct. 6 and reached near 5,000 cfs on Oct. 8. Flows have since reduced with the passing of the storms and as of Oct. 13 it was at 200 cfs. About 170 cfs above normal. In terms of feet, the average for the San Rafael is about 4 feet. It raised to over 10 feet on Oct. 6 and peaked on Oct. 8 with 13 feet, gage height in feet.