Tragedy: 18 Year Anniversary
Where were you 18 years ago today? If you were here in St. George, you were probably sandbagging, packing your valuables, or finding a safe place to view the wreckage.
I was 13 years old, living on the banks of the Virgin River in Bloomington when the rain started. It didn't let up for about a week. I was in HEAVEN! I've always loved the rain and I couldn't get enough of it. With each day, the tiny little Virgin River was getting more and more thick. You could NEVER see the actual river though. It was ALWAYS covered by trees, bushes, and brush. But suddenly, the brush was being washed away. It was so exciting and interesting to me. I pulled out my video camera and started to film. The rain continued to pour.
About a week in, people started getting extremely nervous. Rumors flew around that dams were breaking, and houses were in danger. Suddenly... It happened. The Virgin River outside my window was MASSIVE. I've never seen anything like this. It had to be 50x the normal size. The water was rushing fast!
A couple miles away, off Dixie Drive, homes were actually falling into the water. It took maybe 20 minutes before I could see these homes rushing past my house in the river. My eyes were LOCKED on the wreckage. Homes, Lumber, Cars, Trucks, Boats, EVERYTHING was rushing past my house in the river. It was unbelievable. Being young and naive, I was so excited by it all. I've never seen anything like it.
I went out into the neighborhood and helped tie sandbags for hours. The rain would NOT stop. I remember going home and watching the news, LIVE outside my house. I could see my dad with water up to his waist. He was a firefighter with SGFD. It was all incredibly exciting.
The next day... It all stopped being so exciting. I could see my mom's face. She was nervous. I went into the backyard and the water had actually reached our fence. Our fence is somewhere around 300 feet from the river, and probably 40 feet above it. So you can imagine how big this river got. It was MASSIVE. That was as close as the water ever got to our house, but the river stayed large for years.
Today, 18 years later, the trees have grown back and once again... You can't see the river now. Too much brush. The water level is too low. The city has come in and put tons of rocks down to make sure this cant happen again.
All in all, with the floods from The Virgin River and the Santa Clara River, 20 homes went into the water, 7 more homes were condemned, and OVER $150,000,000 in damage was done.
And I'll never forget it!
Here are more photos from that crazy day 18 years ago:
Photo Credit: Youtube/Matthew Cipolla, TruTV.