Damage estimates rising in Moab after weekend flooding event

Aug 23, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: 3:24 pm

GRAND COUNTY, Utah — With preliminary damage estimates rising from the weekend’s severe flooding event, Moab city leaders said Monday it could take a couple of months before the cleanup around the tourist town is completed.

City councilman Jason Taylor told KSL 5 those damage estimates could be as high as $10 million with debris, dirt, and mud caking much of a 3-mile stretch of town and with some harder-hit businesses still scrambling to reopen.

“We hate to see any business going through this as a city and the county and especially when we’re getting toward the end of August where September is one of our biggest tourist seasons,” Taylor said. “It’s pretty devastating.”

Among the places yet to reopen was Dewey’s Restaurant & Bar, which Taylor said was particularly hard hit by the flood waters. There, crews were hard at work cleaning up late Monday night.

“(The water) got up to about 3-feet high and the wall just couldn’t take it anymore,” Taylor said of the property. “You can see right here where the water blew through—literally blew through—the walls.”

Numerous other businesses also saw some sort of flood damage as mud and dirt covered popular roads, parks, and trails.

“This is a hundred-year storm is what they’re saying,” Taylor said.

Taylor said while some hotels saw some water damage to their lower levels there still appeared to be plenty of hotel space in town.

Water was still out as of Monday night for a section of town in the area of 100 West and W. Center Street with service expected to be restored Wednesday or Thursday. The city said a boil order would be in effect in that area for several days once service was restored.

Taylor showed KSL 5 multiple flood-ravaged areas around Mill Creek, including a bike park caked with mud and filled with large pieces of debris.

“This place right here—it was probably 25, 30 feet deep coming down this way,” Taylor said as he stood near the creek. “As you can see the creek over here, it’s normally flowing at about 10 (cubic feet per second) and rough estimates are that it was over 1,000 CFS and could have been as much as 3,000 CFS.”

Taylor said the city and county have been asking local businesses and residents to submit pictures and information about their damage so workers can continue to tally it up and assess it.

“I think the majority of the businesses are back open and have opened the doors back up,” Taylor said. “That’s one thing about Moab is yesterday (Sunday) there were community members out helping businesses out shovel sand and help shovel dirt and mop their stores so we could reopen because very much our economy is based on people visiting and being able to shop downtown Moab.”

He said many people were still in disbelief by the damage caused by a powerful thunderstorm outside town Saturday night.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Taylor. “It proves the fragility and yet the harshness of the desert environment in which we live in and how susceptible we are to mother nature.”

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Damage estimates rising in Moab after weekend flooding event