Rain Causes Flooding Along Houston Creek

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Star Valley residents along Houston Creek suffered significant flooding problems Monday night.

The intersection of Orion Drive and Mars Road had to be restricted to one-lane traffic until flood debris could be removed and the road made safe again.

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Floodwaters from Houston Creek overflow its banks Monday and flood homes in Star Valley. Sheila Haggard said the water was as deep as eight or nine feet in the middle of the creek and stretched all the way across Cornerstone Way in the photo.

Crews from Parker Excavating in Payson were on the scene Tuesday morning, removing tree trunks and other debris that was blocking the intersection.

Richard Pinkerton, chairman of the roads and street commission in Star Valley, said damage from Monday night's heavy rains were mainly confined to the intersection of Orion Drive and Mars Road.

"It did come through a couple places about a half a block over, now I don't know if anyone had any damage, but I know one home does have a screen room that might have gotten some flooding." Pinkerton said.

Pinkerton said he was sure all of the debris on Orion Drive would be cleared Tuesday (Aug. 7) and two-lane traffic resumed later in the day.

"I have to go and look at some other areas, but crews have already looked over the other crossings and they all look good."

"I've looked over the flood damage to Sprague Drive and it doesn't look too bad, it's not critical right now, we're trying to keep on top of it," he said Tuesday.

"I'm just upset about the damage here because as soon as the monsoons are over, we were looking at possibly getting some improvements like paving this road and intersection, and now it doesn't look like we'll have the money to do it."

He said that the costs associated with cleanup and repairs from earlier rains, combined with the costs of Monday night's flooding, could prohibit any improvements.

Pinkerton said he thinks the county should offer assistance to Star Valley to try and control flooding along Houston Creek.

"I do think they should do something because this (Houston Creek) is a regulated creek," Pinkerton said.

Sheila and Jim Haggard, who live at 190 Cornerstone Way, said the rains caused the creek to overflow its banks.

"It was about 4 or 4:30 p.m. that I came from town (Payson), and the creek was bank-to-bank at that time," Sheila said.

"About 5:30 or 6 o'clock, trees started to block the culverts, causing the creek to rise even faster."

Sheila Haggard said whole tree trunks and stumps were being washed down the creek and blocking the culverts and crossings.

Sheila Haggard said the worst of the flooding began to take place after the culverts became blocked.

"It was then that the water started coming up over the banks and going across the road and into peoples yards." Sheila said.

Sheila said that two-lane Cornerstone Way was completely covered by the floodwaters.

"As you looked across from our place, the water was almost to the baseline of other people's trailers." she said.

"Over in their yards (neighboring homes), it was probably only about two or three feet deep, but it was flowing quite rapidly."

She added, "But in the middle of the creek, it was probably closer to eight or nine feet deep."

She said erosion is eating away at the banks along Houston Creek.

"You can see where the water has eaten into the banks and it's starting to make large pieces it fall into the creek."

"Something has to be done soon or we're going to lose a lot of the land on the banks of the creek," she said.

She said their trailer did not suffer any damage from Monday night's rains, but that if flooding had become any worse, they would have.

Diamond Star Fire Department Chief, Gary Hatch said no estimates of damage have been made.

He said, "We don't have anything official yet, but I think about 20 homes received minor flood damage to their property and I know of only one home in Star Valley that got about two inches of water inside it."

Hatch said the American Red Cross has been out to speak with residents affected by the floods and to help assess damage. He expects they will have some estimates soon.

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