UTAH FLOOD WATCH

KSL weather guru talks about trigger behind two Draper homes sliding down cliff

Apr 24, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2023, 11:40 am

draper homes after collapse utah landslides...

The debris of two homes in Draper that have reportedly been evacuated for months sits at the bottom of a hill after sliding overnight on Saturday, April 22, 2023. State lawmakers are looking at how to prevent future landslides in Utah. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Saturday in Draper, two homes slid down into a ravine.

Draper Mayor Troy Walker said the land the homes sat on was geo-engineered for the view high on the hill. 

“It’s not a mudslide or a landslide in the typical sense. It’s not native land that just gave way. This is actually manmade land that gave way, so that’s what is unique about it,” he said.

Draper mayor blames building procedures for home collapses

Built by Edge Homes in 2021, the two homes were evacuated in October over concerns about them being unsafe to occupy.

“We stand by our product and take care of our buyers even when problems arise from circumstances outside of our control,” Edge Homes said in a statement.

Ask the expert about Draper homes disaster

KSL Chief Meteorologist Kevin Eubank joins Dave Noriega and guest host Derek Brown. 

Eubank said at the base of the ravine a retaining wall was built.

“We’re not talking a little retention wall. It is multistories high, and then they planted two homes in a natural ravine.

“We’re in a natural area that has a whole lot of water and has in the past,” Eubank said. “They then blocked that ravine. Now I have no idea whether there was drainage put in, whether there was diversion that was put in, but this is definitely a manmade problem exacerbated by mother nature and water.”

Eubank added that most of the water in Utah can’t be seen because it moves underground.

“The Draper case, specifically, is an actual — not a mudslide — it’s a landslide that happened in a geo-engineered area exacerbated by Mother Nature and the amount of water that we have this year,” he pointed out.

Dave mentioned that the two homes were evacuated when they were starting to creak back in October.

“Was this inevitable or was it just exacerbated by the crazy amount of snow and water we have right now?” he asked.

“Well, that’s an argument that’s gonna rage probably in the courts for a long time,” Eubank said.

Eubank referred to a landslide in North Salt Lake that resembles the recent slide in Draper.

North Salt Lake evacuees angry city allowed development in slide area

“When new development comes into natural areas, we changed the natural flow. . . Same thing. There was development that was done above that, and it changed the course of the underground water and reactivated an area and caused that to slide,” he said.

The snowstorms may be over (except in the mountains) in Utah for the year, but rain is in the forecast. It will exacerbate existing problems like land- and mudslides.

In response to the historic state flooding of 1983, “We built reservoirs like Jordanelle and put in huge pipes and culverts and diversion dams, so that the next time 83 happened, we wouldn’t have the problem.

“Well guess what? 2023 is happening now. And we’re seeing the results of all of our efforts back in the ’80s and early ’90s to try to create a situation to not experience the catastrophic flooding we had in the ’80s,” Eubank said.

Related:

What are the optimal temperatures in Utah to minimize flooding?

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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KSL weather guru talks about trigger behind two Draper homes sliding down cliff