Inclement weather causes incidents, hazards throughout So. Utah
Recent weather conditions in Southern Utah — high winds, heavy rainfall and flash flooding — have caused several minor incidents throughout the area.
From road hazards to fallen power lines to lightning strikes, area police and fire department officials are cautioning the community to be aware that treacherous weather conditions can pose immediate threats.
Rainstorms rolled in earlier this week and yielded several incidents, including a flooded roadway in Hurricane and fallen tree on Main Street in St. George.
Rob Hooper, St. George Fire Department Battalion Chief, said the biggest issue SGFD sees is fallen trees and power lines.
"Treat any down line, no matter what it is, as if it’s live," Hooper said. "They can hold a lot of energy in them. Be clear of power lines, especially if the wind is still blowing."
According to St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley, a tree fell in the middle of the road on Main Street near the Cinema 6 theater Monday night. The tree fell over due to the high wind, and tow ropes were used to clear the road hazard.
"It was a fairly large tree," she said. "They had to bring in some big equipment to move it."
In Hurricane, Sgt. Brandon Buell with the Hurricane City Police Department said there’s a street notorious for flooding every time a thunderstorm rolls in, located on 1150 W.
The road was closed Monday for several hours.
He said there’s usually "a substantial amount of water" that fills that particular roadway, which makes it unsafe to drive through since drivers can’t tell how deep the water is.
"Especially if the water is moving quickly, avoid driving through that area," Buell said.
In addition, Buell said a bolt of lightning hit a power pole and caused a Monday night power outage for nearly an hour in Hurricane.
Santa Clara Ivins Police Officer Chad Holt said no real flooding incidents have been reported so far, and that both cities have "done a lot to prevent flooding in the roadways."
In previous years, storms can cause outside objects like trampolines to become flying objects, and Buell said residents should always make sure lawn furniture, equipment, or other objects outside are secure during a storm.
Other common incidents SGPD officials respond to during thunderstorms include residential alarms. Trombley said officers get called on a considerably large amount of alarms after the wind blows open residential doors.
For residents who come across a road hazard, Buell said if the roadway allows for the driver and passengers to leave the vehicle safely, that’s one option. If not, drivers are encouraged to call dispatch and report the hazard.
However, Trombley said SGPD officials would much rather see drivers remain in their vehicle if they come across a road hazard.
"Calling dispatch right away is much safer than getting out of your vehicle and trying to move it yourself," Trombley said. "We appreciate the community's willingness to help, but we'd much rather you stay safe."
This week's forecast predicts potential rainfall and thunderstorms through Saturday.
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