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Gully washers flood basements, kill power

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Some homeowners began using their toilets as storm drain systems Wednesday night, after a thunderstorm left as much as 2 feet of water in some basements.

Others waited in the dark for about two hours after the weather caused electric lines to short from three transformers that power about 1,000 homes.The heavy cloudbursts dumped Noah-style rain on scattered parts of northern Utah.

"Bountiful had 0.77 (of an inch) in 18 minutes and also some pea-size hail, and ended up with 0.92 in 25 minutes," said William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's regional office in Salt Lake City.

A gauge near the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City recorded 1.1 inch in half an hour. Centerville had 0.46 of an inch in only 20 minutes, while West Bountiful was inundated with 0.72 of an inch.

What it boiled down to was "the gutters wouldn't handle the water," said Ron Hatch, Bountiful Fire deputy chief.

Lightning bolts or tree branches tangled power lines and caused fuses to blow in the transformers, said Mark Bradley, plan accountant with Bountiful Power.

Antelope Island reported 54 mph wind gusts.

Flooding in the area also affected interstate traffic, closing the 500 West I-15 southbound offramp into Bountiful about 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The storm, which picked up around 8 p.m. and lasted an hour and a half, flooded basement window wells with rainwater that burst through windows.

Although the storm left some property damage in the city, no structure damage was found by late Wednesday night, said Mike Barfuss, Bountiful assistant fire chief.

Firefighters and city street workers scrambled to cover possible flooding calls from about 20 locations. The Davis County Library and Bountiful Fire Station experienced flooding on the lower levels of both buildings, but there was no major damage.

Alder said some rainstorms were likely in eastern Utah on Thursday and possibly in the northern part of the state. But it's not likely to be the kind of intense downpour that walloped northern Utah Wednesday night.