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Weekend flooding damages Weber County homes, builds friendships

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FARR WEST, Weber County — When Greg Stowe's four children woke him up at 2:30 a.m. Sunday telling him of water under their beds, he ran outside to see the night sky reflected in a body of water surrounding his home.

"My house was an island," Stowe said, looking across the soggy state of his yard Monday morning. "We built this house four years ago, and we had everything finished. Now we get to start all over in the basement."

Stowe's home, near 4000 North and 2700 West, was one of at least seven incidents of flooding in Weber County after a heavy downpour late Saturday and early Sunday.

The Weber Fire District received calls from Farr West, West Haven, Marriott-Slaterville, and unincorporated parts of Weber County, where the National Weather Service reported more than 2 inches of rainfall in 48 hours.

Neighbors helping neighbors

The rainstorm inundated canals and streams in some of those areas, causing water to spill out onto the roadways and residential properties. Stowe and his wife, Tausha, awoke to 3 inches of water in their basement after an irrigation canal north of their property overflowed.

"This is probably going to cost us close to $15,000," Stowe said, noting that his house did not have natural disaster or flood insurance coverage. "But my silver lining is that my family is safe, and I was blessed with a whole bunch of awesome neighbors who were here to help."

Brandon Thueson, fire marshal for the Weber Fire District, said if it hadn't been for community members willing to help their neighbors, firefighters would have had difficulty providing aid. Weber County received 19 calls that night, said Weber County Emergency Management Director Lance Peterson.

"We were impressed as a fire department to see that community support in the middle of the night," Thueson said. "People were wading through water up to their knees, setting up sandbags to keep their neighbors' homes from flooding. They didn't give up. They just kept working together as a team."

Rain could prove risky for upcoming fire season, officials say
by Kaitlin Loukides

BOX ELDER COUNTY — While every little bit helps Utah's drought concerns, fire officials said it won't be long before the green vegetation turns brown and becomes fuel for the upcoming fire season.

Officials from the Weber County Fire District said they're thankful for the much-needed moisture, but at the same time concerned. The rain creates more foliage that will dry-out and become a fire risk during the summer wildfire season.

Click Here to read more ...

Stowe said it was a difficult phone call to make at 3 a.m., when he dialed his LDS Church bishop for help.

"That's a call I want to get," said Bishop Brad Wallace. "I want to be there to help anyone who needs it, and I'm confident that everybody in the neighborhood felt the same way."

More than 30 ward members spent between seven and 10 hours wading nearly knee-deep through the Stowes' yard as they helped move belongings, tear out carpet and remove Sheetrock from the walls. Wallace said volunteers also took clothing and other waterlogged items home to wash and dry for the family.

"They're getting after me because I'm not the kind of guy that likes to ask for help," Stowe said. "But I definitely appreciate every bit of help that they're giving us because we're going to need it."

Wallace said as they wait for the Stowes' basement to dry, volunteers have planned to bring meals to the family and maintain daily contact to keep their spirits up.

"You just see a community come together when things like this happen," he said. "Neighbors that normally just drive by and wave are suddenly talking to each other and reaching to help each other. It creates a lasting friendship."

With more rain forecast for later this week, Stowe said his neighborhood will be watching the canal closely and be ready for more flooding.

Talk of a bigger problem

Ogden resident Joe Dunn, who keeps about a dozen miniature ponies next to Stowe near the canal, said the same ditch flooded roughly 10 years ago under similar circumstances.

"The county should fix it," Dunn said. "The ditch isn't big enough."

Peterson said after the first time the canal flooded, county workers rebuilt its bank, but "in the last 10 years, it has been beat down again."

"Any municipality has a great challenge in trying to stay ahead of stormwater issues," he said. "It's a huge problem because the water comes down the stream from miles away in other cities."

Stowe said he plans to reach out to Weber County officials in the coming weeks as he looks to repair his basement.

"I certainly hoping they're going to be willing to come work with me," he said.

Weber County officials said they will be evaluating each situation and working with residents during the coming weeks.

Thueson said residents living near canals should keep a watchful eye out during storms and notify their city or county public works departments if they notice debris clogs or signs of overflow as rain continues to fall later this week.

Contributing: Kaitlin Loukides, Mike Anderson

Katie McKellar is a Dixie State University graduate with a bachelor of science in mass communication. Before interning at Deseret News, she reported and edited news content for Dixie Sun News, first as Photo Editor, then as Features Editor. Email:


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