Flooding traps several vehicles, prompts road closure

Floodwaters raged down the canyon across Minersville Highway Thursday afternoon prompting officials to close the roadway – Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol – Behind the Headlines

IRON COUNTY – Several cars were stranded for more than an hour in floodwaters and mud Thursday afternoon, prompting authorities to shut down state Route 130 between Enoch City and Minersville, Utah Highway Patrol troopers said.

Initial calls for the road closure came in around 4:45 p.m. and for the Utah Department of Transportation to start clearing the roadway.

Flooding occurred between mileposts 28 and 42. The most serious flooding at milepost 42 reportedly stranded two vehicles. The actual number however, was higher, Trooper Bambi Baie said.

“The first report we received said two cars, but I’ve seen more than that coming out of there. It seems like there’s been about 10 but just to be on the safe side I’d say between five to 10 vehicles,” said Baie, who was stationed above the debris flow at milepost 19 rerouting traffic.

By 6 p.m. the stranded vehicles were starting to make their way south, many of them still carrying evidence of the frightening situation those inside had just experienced.

Justin Jacobson was driving home to St. George after visiting his parents in Tooele when his vehicle was caught up in a 3-foot wall of water spanning at least 30-feet across.

“I didn’t see the water coming. It was like it came out of nowhere and I had nowhere to go. I was trapped,” Jacobson said. “It was gushing down the canyon. There was a lot of mud. There were huge boulders and trees too that were hitting my car. It was definitely scary.”

Baie said the flooding was brought on by a torrential rainstorm that hit just minutes before.

“There was all this rain that just started pouring down,” Baie said. “It was incredible. I was going 30 miles per hour and I slowed down because I thought I was going too fast for weather conditions, that’s how hard and fast it was coming down. Just boom, it was so powerful.”

No injuries were reported, Baie said.

UDOT crews were working in the canyon to try and build up natural barricades to slow down the flooding. They also planned to clear the debris and mud from the roadway to allow vehicles to pass safely following the flood.

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