SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Residents and officials cleaned up Friday after a Utah mudslide led to the evacuation of 14 homes and sent a couple of feet of sludge into one basement.
Heavy rains unleashed the torrent of mud Thursday night in Woodland Hills, a small town nestled in foothills 60 miles south of Salt Lake City. Residents needing essentials were escorted to and from their houses in the town of about 1,500 people.
There didn’t appear to be any structural damage, and in two cases, the mud bypassed homes and instead flowed through yards, said Lt. Tom Hodgson of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. There were no reports of injuries.
By Friday afternoon, residents were allowed to return to their homes.
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Mayor Steve Lauritzen said they were being given sand bags and a piece of advice: don’t sleep in the basement.
He said authorities are keeping a close eye on forecasts of more rain in the area.
“Our concern is that it will happen again,” he said.
Lauritzen and authorities planned to get a better view of the mountainside by helicopter to understand why the earth gave way and whether another slide can be prevented.
“There’s no easy way to get up there and take a good look,” he said of the heavy vegetation and steep slope.
What they found was a small channel that acted as a funnel for the saturated mountainside after a significant amount of rain fell in a short period of time.
He said a hydrologist indicated the rest of the mountainside didn’t appear to be at risk of a slide and gave the OK Friday for residents to return.