Cedar City residents, others pitch in to help those affected by flooding; some 200 students displaced

CEDAR CITY — The torrential rains and floods that hit various parts of Cedar City on Monday were thought to be a once-in-500-year event in some areas, Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards said Tuesday, as residents continued to pitch in and help with cleanup efforts.

Volunteers clean mud out of gutters in Cross Hollow area, Cedar City, Utah, July 27, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The afternoon thunderstorm dropped as much as 2 inches of rain in one hour’s time, weather officials said.

“The amount of rain in such a short period of time overwhelmed flood control structures and resulted in localized flooding in areas of our city,” Wilson-Edwards said, adding that some residences were left uninhabitable by the flooding, which affected houses, apartment buildings, businesses, churches, parking lots, roads and other public infrastructure.

“Last night, city crews worked to assess damage, clear debris out of roadways, pump water out of buildings and assist our residents in need,” the mayor added. “The city will continue these efforts today and in the days ahead.”

Much of the mayor’s remarks were included in written posts on social media, in addition to being delivered verbally during a short press conference held at noon Tuesday in front of the Cross Hollow Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Cross Hollow neighborhoods were among the areas hardest hit by Monday’s flooding.

In the Cross Hollow area and in other parts of town, many residents were seen outside their homes, helping shovel mud, fill sandbags and clean out damaged belongings from flooded garages and basements.

Flood-damaged Cross Hollow Stake Center property as seen from the air, Cedar City, Utah, July 26, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Maile Wilson-Edwards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“One of the hallmarks of Cedar City is the volunteer spirit,” the mayor said. “You can see that in the forefront, with friends, residents, the community, and businesses, along with the city crews, all coming together.”

Joining Wilson-Edwards at Tuesday’s news briefing were Southern Utah University’s interim President Mindy Benson, Iron County Commissioner Mike Bleak and Iron County emergency management coordinator George Colson.

Benson said she was “humbled” by the support the community has shown as they’ve stepped up to help the university and its students.

“Our community always rallies and shows up and we appreciate that,” she said, adding that the damage sustained on the SUU campus “pales in comparison with our residents and our students who have lost homes and belongings.”

Approximately 200 students have been displaced, she said.

“We are putting them in our university housing for the next 30 days, short term until their apartments are available again, or until we can find them housing.”

SUU’s fall semester starts Sept. 9, she added.

“Our community showed up and are bringing food, meals and clothing, whatever students may need, and that’s been wonderful to see,” she said.

Bleak also commended area residents for their willingness to help out.

“There were some heroic decisions made and actions taken tonight that I am proud to have been a piece in the puzzle,” Bleak wrote in a social media post Monday night.

A car driving on a flooded street, Cedar City, Utah, July 26, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Stephanie Cotham, St. George News / Cedar City News

Still, he cautioned, “I’m afraid we’re not out of the woods just yet,” as he noted more rainstorms are in the forecast for later this week.

Anyone who has been affected by the flooding is asked to report it by going to the city’s website and submitting their information via an online form.

Other resources that are available for those affected:

  • There are large roll-off trash containers located at the Cross Hollow Arena for people to dump in items ruined by the flooding. Additionally, the Iron County Landfill will waive any dumping fees for flood damaged items for at least the next week. 
  • The American Red Cross has set up an emergency community shelter at 61 N. 900 West, Cedar City.
  • Cedar City and Iron County have free sandbags available at their respective public works offices. The Cedar City Public Works yard is located at 716 N. Airport Road, and the Iron County Road Department is located at 1104 N. Bulldog Road. Volunteers have been needed at both locations to assist with filling sandbags. 

“Just go and pick up what you need to protect your homes and businesses as rain is projected in the forecast,” Wilson-Edwards said.

Cedar City news thanks all readers who submitted images and video of Monday’s flooding either via email or in the comments on the stories. Some of these were used in the accompanying video.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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