After debris blocked a culvert under Stocks Drive amid flash flooding July 31, the water storming down Pack Creek had nowhere to go except over the sides of the creek bed and, for some of it, into the low-laying backyard of Andrea and Randy French.
The two were on vacation, out of cell service, when their neighbors tried to reach the Frenches to warn them about the coming floods. Storms have put the couple’s backyard underwater in the past, and rain three days prior telegraphed a potential issue.
On one other occasion, Pack Creek overflowed to cause severe flooding and damage, and on two other occasions, localized rains flooded their street and poured down their sloped driveway.
“We seem to be the low point where it comes down,” Andrea French said. “But since we weren’t here and the water was contained, it just kept rising.”
The Frenches have a walled-in backyard, and a portion of the back wall — which they said sits on adjacent property, not their own — collapsed under the weight of the water after it got above waist height.
“Had the wall not broke, our house would have flooded,” Randy French said. “We are so happy it broke,” Andrea French responded.
Though their house did not flood, everything else on their property — the workshop, the garden, the fire pit, the garage — did, leaving inches of now-dried mud in its wake.
The flooding claimed power tools in the workshop, landscaping throughout the yard, and deposited debris in their four-foot tall bird feeder.
“This was 100% preventable,” Randy French said.
Grand County Commission Administrator Chirs Baird said that there are four steps that residents affected by the Pack Creek flooding need to do in the wake of the damage:
- Contact your insurance agent.
- Document everything. Take pictures and videos, note dates and times where possible, and collect photos of property prior to the flood damage.
- Fill out the Private Damage Assessment Survey that Grand County is currently conducting. Include that documentation in the survey response. The survey is at www.grandcountyutah.net/flood.
- Start clean-up. For residents outside city limits, debris can be moved to the edge of their property line and contact the Grand County Road Department at 435-259-5308 to schedule pick-up. Leave a message if there is no answer.
When it was last updated in 2011, the Grand County Storm Drainage Master Plan, called for $39 million in improvements, including $16 million in priority improvements and two retention ponds upstream from the Stocks Drive culvert collapse.
Next week, The Times-Independent will assess these planned improvements, whether they have been built, and the county’s current plans for mitigating flash flooding in Spanish Valley.