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Hot, dry? Not here, not any longer

The wettest day since November '01 is also cool

The storm that hit Salt Lake City Tuesday and Wednesday was the wettest whopper since November 2001, with 1.17 inches of moisture at the airport. The storm's cool air mass also set a record low high temperature for the day.

Wednesday's airport reading of only 61 degrees shattered the previous coolest high for Sept. 10 — 64 degrees — set in 1986.

"It was certainly a wonderful storm," said Mark Eubank, KSL's chief meteorologist.

The storm also dumped 6 inches of snow on Snowbird's 11,000-foot Hidden Peak and 3 inches at its ski lift base, the first white stuff of the season.

San Juan County and the Four Corners area was hit hardest by the storm, and about a dozen homes in the Bluff area were flooded about 1 a.m. Wednesday after the San Juan River overflowed its banks for the first time in 43 years.

With no Red Cross in this remote portion of Utah, displaced Navajo residents camped out until the water receded. River levels were as much as 10 feet above flood stage.

At least three other people were stranded on dirt roads after washes filled with water. They had to hike out Wednesday, as no vehicles could still use the flooded roads, southwest of Blanding.

There were no injuries, and all paved roads have remained open. However, a gravel pit in the Bluff area was also flooded by the San Juan River, and several major pieces of construction equipment are under water.

Some phenomenal moisture totals were recorded in the area — 3.10 inches at Natural Bridges and 2.76 inches at Hovenweep.

Flooding on a smaller scale in Salt Lake County caused a canal near California Avenue to overflow its banks and inundate some business properties in an industrial park. At its high point Wednesday, the water was so deep it reached many of the car doors. That challenged some employees in the area.

"I should have brought my duck waders to get in today because it's pretty deep in the middle," said Matt Gibbons, an area employee. "Some of the cars I don't think can get in and out of here."

Pete Morris, a woodworker, said the water rose up beyond the height of the foundation and poured right through the walls.

In Provo, an intense thunderstorm triggered a small mud flow on the city's east bench early Wednesday.

But residents were unaware of the dangers lurking in the mountains above. Thanks to a diversion channel, completed in early August, the soupy mud flow never reached their homes.

Across the state Wednesday, high temperatures ranged from 55 degrees in Logan to 88 degrees in St. George. Other not-so-highs included: Provo, 61; Moab, 69; Vernal, 61; and Blanding, 67.

Eubank expects Thursday morning to go as low as 44 degrees, off the record of 38 degrees. It will be mostly sunny today, with a high of 68 degrees — still below the normal of 78 degrees. Salt Lake City will reach 74 degrees by Sunday and should be in the 70s all next week.


Contributing: Sam Penrod and Susan Wood, KSL-TV.E-MAIL: lynn@desnews.com