Cedar City gets pummeled by rains: flooding homes, hospital and prison

Aug 17, 2023, 11:02 PM | Updated: Aug 19, 2023, 2:18 pm

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Cleanup is underway from flooding in Cedar City and Enoch, leaving a mess in homes, on city streets and even in the hospital and jail.

The rain came in quickly Thursday afternoon, flooding parking lots and roads, quickly seeping inside homes and buildings.

It led to a quick scramble from crews, firefighters, police officers and residents to help clean it up.

“It started raining and it was raining really hard,” said Cedar City resident Carrie Brown, who watched the water rise outside her office building.

“It just really let loose and there was lightning, the power went out,” Brown explained. “And water just kept flowing over past the drainage, because the drainage couldn’t handle it at all.”

At one point, a nearby baseball field flooded and Brown took pictures.

This baseball field was one of many areas that flooded in Cedar City Thursday (Carrie Brown)

Other residents watched the muddy water swell in the streets and around their homes, taking pictures and videos of the mess.

At the Iron County Sheriff’s Office and jail, water began pouring in through the door and windows.

“The sewer was starting to back up down in our basement,” Sheriff Ken Carpenter said. “In the courtyard outside of the basement had filled with water.”

He and jail staff explained that the ceiling collapsed in a medical area and hallways and water seeped into jail cells.

People work to sandbag the Iron County Sheriff’s Office and jail (Iron County Sheriff’s Office)

Pictures and video show water dripping out of open areas where ceiling panels fell out, and murky sewage filling up the basement.

“That particular part ended up flooding our crime lab, and some of our long-term evidence areas. It flooded our IT area, and weight room,” Sheriff Carpenter said.

Thankfully he says an evidence technician moved everything important out of the water’s way, to avoid evidence being destroyed.

An old, failing building, he said, is part of why the water so easily overtook their drainage system and leaked through the roof.

Sheriff Carpenter said it’s possible they may have to relocate inmates as they brace for more storms this weekend.

The fire department helped pump the jail and Cedar City Hospital out. At the Cedar City Hospital, the south side was hit hardest and water made its way into the area of the operating room.

Intermountain Health released a statement about flooding at the hospital:

“Cedar City Hospital sustained some flooding that affected the south side of the hospital, including areas around the operating room. The hospital is still operational, and patients are completely safe and receiving any needed care. However, surgeries planned for tomorrow are being rescheduled and patients affected by this have been contacted.”

Flooding outside and inside Cedar City Hospital has led to rescheduling surgeries (Iron County Sheriff’s Office)

After all pouring in at once, the rain stopped, and the waters subsided.

“Things were able to drain,” Brown said. She was standing in front of the baseball field and showed the view behind her of green grass. “So the baseball field is now mostly drained.”

Now comes drying out before more storms hit this weekend.

“I know a lot of people are out helping their neighbors,” Brown said. “Cleaning up pump water from basements that need to be done.”

Law enforcement officers stand in the flood waters in a Cedar City neighborhood (Sierra Nelson)

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Cedar City gets pummeled by rains: flooding homes, hospital and prison