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Homeowners upset by city's declaration of flooding as '50 year storm'

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Sep 12th, 2013 @ 10:51pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — The weekend rain that flooded dozens of Provo homes and damaged roads is being called a "50 year storm" by the city of Provo, and the declaration could result in the city not having to help pay for homeowner clean up.

Many Provo city leaders said they simply got too much water at too fast a rate during the storm, but several homeowners are concerned city officials are using that as an excuse to not have to pay.

Richard Twitchell said the rainwater came bursting through the basement door in their home Saturday afternoon. Twitchell said the water kept coming and soaked couches and fixtures.

"We're wet about 24 inches up," Twitchell said. "It just kept coming. I never in my wildest dreams figured we'd have a flood up here on the hill."

The Saturday storm flowed through several Provo streets and washed out part of Grand Avenue near 900 North Street.

"(The water went down the backdoor, and actually filled the basement with seven inches of water," said homeowner Jared Dayley.

Provo Deputy Mayor Corey Norman said the flooding and severe weather caught the city by surprise.

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"We've had a significant event here in Provo," Norman said. "At about 4 p.m., it was running at about 20 to 30 cubic feet per second. By 5 p.m., it was 600."

Norman said the city's flood control is designed to handle up to a 25 year storm, and Saturday's storm was too much. However, homeowners are wanting the city to take responsibility for some of the damage caused by the flooding.

"And now for the city to say, 'It's a once in 50 year storm, or even a 25 year storm,' I don't quite buy that," Twitchell said.

"I'm thinking (I have close to) $5,000 damage," Dayley said. "It was all remodeled less than a year ago."

Several homeowners said that because the city didn't have adequate drainage systems in place, they will be left to personally pay the bill.

"I just hope they're not going to be hardcore with us," Twitchell said. "It happened, and there are a lot of people here in the neighborhood that have damage. And trying to replace it out of their own pockets is not going to be an easy thing to do."

The city has requested homeowners who have concerns to file a claim with them, and that each case will be considered. Provo City said upgrading the infrastructure to deal with a larger 100 year storm wouldn't likely be feasible because of the high cost to taxpayers.


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