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Standing flood water amounts to feet in some areas


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LIBERTY, Weber County — For the last 24 hours, the community of Liberty has been working to keep icy water from flooding homes.

In some homes, basements are under feet of water, despite the town's best efforts to sandbag the area and pump water. According to officials, the flooding is made worse in Liberty by the frozen ground, leaving the water from the latest storm nowhere to go.

"Just a lot of moisture and a frozen ground," said one resident, Bill Hight. "The water has nowhere to go so it goes downhill."

In Western Cache County, a similar scene plays out. Flood waters have entered buildings, but the canal and culverts overflowed with rain and mountain snowpack coming down the hillsides and blocking state Route 23 between Wellsville and Mendon through Friday afternoon.

"It was a huge amount of water, and no matter how much we sandbagged, it would just roll over them," said Barbara Bird, a Mendon resident.

"It was a real powerful river," said Wendell Whiteley, also a Mendon resident. "I went to go cross to try and get to the other side of it and it went clear up my leg. It kind of pushed me a little bit. It was coming through pretty hard."

Emergency crews drained the canals to open the road and lessen the danger of the flooding water, but crews and residents worry about what could happen if more rain pours down.

Friday, Liberty community members continued to check on those most impacted by the storm and get ready for the next rainstorm. At least 50 people worked all night in the freezing cold filling 3,000 sandbags.

"Now it's down to about 10 inches deep, last night it was getting up to 2 feet in some places," Hight said.

Hight ended up with a foot and a half of water in his garage, while his neighbor had 6 feet of icy water in her basement.

At the Rich home in Bailey Acres, a pump continues to push water away from the house and streets are filled with several inches of slush.

"The house was completely surrounded by water so it was a matter of getting the sandbags around and then they got big pumps in there to get it out," said Tanner Rich. "There was probably 6 inches of water running down both sides of this road down to the end of the subdivision, and all of the man holes they had to put sand bags over."

People in Liberty say they've never seen so much standing icy water before, and like others, Hight says he's thankful for those who have pitched in to help.

"They are the heroes here; I'm just lucky and grateful for their help."

The community worked until 3 a.m. Friday morning to build sandbag walls around homes, and they returned later in the morning with pumps.

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Written by Shara Park and Alex Cabrero with contributions from Randall Jeppeson.

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Shara Park
    Alex Cabrero

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