2nd storm prompts more flood relief for Dammeron Valley; 9 LDS wards cancel church services

Relief efforts with help from multiple agencies and residents underway at the Dammeron Valley Fire Station after heavy rains returned to the region Saturday, Washington County, Utah, July 14, 2018

WASHINGTON COUNTY — More than 100 volunteers from agencies across Southern Utah descended upon the Dammeron Valley Fire Station Saturday with supplies, sand and manpower to gear up for another round of flood relief as a thunderstorm moved across the already-saturated valley. Several area wards from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have cancelled Sunday church services to support the relief efforts.

Relief efforts with help from multiple agencies and residents underway at the Dammeron Valley Fire Station after heavy rains returned to the region Saturday, Washington County, Utah, July 14, 2018

“It was bad enough, and with our already-flooded area, there was just nothing to hold the water back,” Dammeron Valley Fire Chief Kevin Dye said of the second storm that hit the rural Washington County community Saturday.

Dye said the flooding wasn’t quite as intense as it was when a storm hit the area Thursday evening, but it was strong enough to flood the area again.

Read more: Thunder cell moves through Dammeron Valley ‘with a vengeance’

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office provided manpower and supplies, including a work-release for inmates from Purgatory Correctional Facility to operate two “sandbagger” machines, automated sandbag-filling systems that can fill four bags simultaneously. Each machine is capable of filling at least 1,600 bags per hour with a 5-man crew.

Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher was also on hand to coordinate the sandbagging operation.

“We are filling these bags as quickly as we can to get them out to these homes that have flooding issues and also stockpiling bags so they have them on hand when needed,” Pulsipher said.

Relief efforts with help from multiple agencies and residents underway at the Dammeron Valley Fire Station after heavy rains returned to the region Saturday, Washington County, Utah, July 14, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Washington County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Nate Brooksby said the work-release inmates are a valuable resource in situations where manpower is needed. They are the same people who function as county road workers.

The county’s Search and Rescue Division also sent volunteers to help with relief efforts.

Truckloads of sand were being delivered throughout the day, donated by St. George-based Gunlock Rock, which was used to fill hundreds of bags that were stacked and prepared for delivery to the many homes and properties left vulnerable to further flooding by continuing rain.

The heavy rains led to intense flooding that inundated a river running parallel with state Route 18, spilling across both lanes of the highway just north of Dammeron Valley Drive. As the rains continued, the water became a fast-moving torrent, prompting the Utah Department of Transportation to close both directions on SR-18 at about 3:30 p.m. By 5:30 p.m. the road was reopened for travel.

Storm relief operations continued throughout Saturday, and Dye said residents that need supplies or help can “just come to the station. We have plenty of supplies and resources, and we’ll be here.”

Relief efforts with help from multiple agencies and residents underway at the Dammeron Valley Fire Station after heavy rains returned to the region Saturday, Washington County, Utah, July 14, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Church service at nine wards from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been cancelled to support flood relief efforts. Members are being asked to report to the fire station in Dammeron Valley to assist with clearing debris, removing water and mud from basements, cleanup projects and anything else needed to help families in the aftermath of the flooding.

The fire station, located at 1261 Dammeron Valley Ranch Road East, will be open and operational as an incident command post at 8 a.m. Sunday for volunteers to check in.

Dye said the community received an enormous amount of support and assistance from so many agencies during the the relief operation that was underway Saturday, adding that the mutual aid is “phenomenal – it’s unsurpassed.”

The Santa Clara-Ivins Fire Department and Public Works, St. George Fire Department, Diamond Valley Fire Department, Dammeron Valley Fire Department, Enterprise Fire Department, Northwest Special Services Fire District also responded and provided assistance while Gold Cross Ambulance sent one fully staffed ambulance to remain in Dammeron Valley on standby.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.