Parowan City copes with flood damage, heavy rains

By Craig Bennett

Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall over the Brian Head burn scar resulted in flooding in the Parowan area and caused State Route 143 from Parowan to Brian Head to be closed by the Utah Department of Transportation after the road washed out in three different areas. 

Most flooding occurred Aug. 6 with debris flowing swiftly down the Parowan Creek drainage and consisted of rock, mud, vegetation, large trees, branches and other loose materials, according to Parowan city reports.

The flooding and the debris flow damaged several homes downstream and left some streets in the Parowan area covered in ash and debris. Flooding along Interstate 15, south of Parowan, caused the Utah Highway Patrol to close the freeway for several hours last Monday due to the debris flow running over both lanes.

Parowan Resident Angela Bentley, who lives at 360 S. 1075 West said she’s in recovery mode. 

“I think the overlapping long-term damages we are going to be seeing from the forest fire for years to come,” Bentley said. “We had a great support system through neighbors and, of course, we got the text message for emergencies. Our neighbors came and knocked on our door, thank goodness because we were oblivious to the oncoming flood.” 

Bentley said she couldn’t believe how fast it the flood waters came down.

“In just a few minutes of time our neighbors yard was completely filled up clear to the back wall. We almost feel guilty saying our house didn’t get flooded when our neighbors did,” she said. “We had a river going through but my husband made some great choices with the grading and landscaping. We got a little water in the basement but nothing too bad. When asked if she was worried about the future, she said there is always a chance. It is monsoon season and that produces a chance for afternoon thunderstorms.”

Parowan City Mayor Donald Landes said the flooding was devastating.

“All residents in the Parowan area are now without secondary or irrigation water and many residents were without culinary or drinking water until Tuesday afternoon. The repairs to the irrigation water system could take weeks,” Landes said. “It was a nasty flood and the water system suffered major damage where the 3 creeks come together just outside of Parowan and (State Route 143). It will be very costly for the city to repair.” 

Landes said Parowan is a fantastic community to live in.

“When the call went out for volunteers, 30 to 40 people responded to fill sand bags. This through the rain and the mud,” he said.

One home, out of the four-reported damaged, was reported to have six of water in the basement. The homeowner told the mayor they couldn’t thank the people who volunteered to help them enough. Even the Parowan high school football team and the girls’ soccer team responded to help.

The Mayor also praised the Public Works Department and city employees who spent countless hours.

“They were fantastic and worked very hard, many until late at night,” Landes said.

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