Family digs out after mudslide
July 22, 2014
While preparing for their daughter's birthday celebration, North Valley residents Debra, Brent and Daylin Olson watched the lightning on Sunday, never expecting that a torrential rainstorm occurring on the mountain right next to their home would send mud and water roiling across their property and into their home.
"We were watching the lightning storm, getting ready to barbecue," Olson said. "Then we saw a river coming down and it washed away everything in its path."
The Olson's home on Mac Drive in the Buckbrush subdivision at the base of Hot Springs Mountain was one of the worst hit in the Valley.
Olson said there is a creek running through their backyard that she noticed had water in it.
"I watched this whole amount of water come down, and started screaming really, that we had to shut the doors," she said. "It was coming straight at us, and it was a huge amount of river. It was literally a fast-flowing river."
Mud filled up the Olson's backyard pool and pushed into the house.
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"There was a large amount of pressure of the water and mud coming through our back door," she said. "We were trying to barricade it, but the rain wasn't subsiding."
The house is still on the foundation and Olson said the family thinks the subfloor is in place, but their landscaping was washed away.
"Everything is buried in mud," she said. "Thankfully nobody was hurt, but nobody was prepared for the amount of rain coming off that mountain. It's surreal."
According to the National Weather Service, 1.23 inches of rain fell on Hot Springs Mountain over the course of two hours.
"It's not just our house," she said. "It's the neighborhood."
Olson said the family's lived in the neighborhood for 11 years.
She said anyone who's looking for dirt, they have a lot.
"We have a pile of dirt people can come get out of our cul de sac," she said. "The whole mountain is in our backyard. Bring a shovel, bring a backhoe, bring a tractor and come get it."
The Olson's insurance agent was one of the first people there to help.
"I'm amazed by the amount of people who showed up at our house," she said. "We've had a good 50 people we don't know here and helping us. We are very blessed to have all of these people lending a hand."
She said an official from East Fork Fire District visited the scene, but she said the county should have done more.
"I'm pretty disappointed in the county," she said. "You see the devastation. It literally took everything away and all we're left with is mud and sand. I'm disappointed that the county didn't come out here and contact us."
Buckbrush subdivision is named after Buckbrush Wash, whose flooding in 1994 and 1997 prompted a five-year study. The wash is located further east and drains the Pine Nut Mountains.
Further east, on Lindsay Lane residents were also digging out from the mud.
While the county won't help clean private property, anyone who wants to call and report damage may do so at 783-6480.
"We can do some damage assessment, but that's mostly to help gather information for insurance claims," East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini said.
Not all the flooding occurred in the county's jurisdiction. Homes along Long Drive in Sunridge are in the Indian Hills General Improvement District.