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Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski declared a local emergency on Friday afternoon following intense flooding that damaged a high school and a library.
A storm dropped 2 and a half inches in less than an hour early Wednesday morning, flooding streets and basements in Salt Lake City.
"It was not a failure of infrastructure at all," Biskupski said. "The system was truly overwhelmed within one hour of time. A storm like this hasn't happened in probably 200 years. It's really an unprecedented event."
The city will evaluate the damage and consider projects to bolster the system in case of future storms, said Laura Briefer, director of the city's utility department.
Several streams jumped their banks during the storm, Briefer said, adding that "maybe there are some fixes we can do there."
"There are a number of areas in the city where we could look at our storm drain system and look and see just how much of a risk this could be in the long term, and whether there is a feasible approach for us to take," she said.
The county and the state will determine the city's eligibility before any funding will be provided, Biskupski said.
If approved, funding will be used to fix damage to public buildings, such as East High School and the Salt Lake City Library's Sprague Branch, according to Salt Lake City Emergency Management Director Cory Lyman, but they will also apply for a program that would offer low-interest loans.
Heavy rain had overwhelmed storm drains along the Wasatch Front, closing down numerous low-lying intersections and reducing much of the morning commute into a crawl.
Hardest hit were neighborhoods in Sugar House, near Smith's Ballpark and along Sunnyside Avenue, Biskupski said.
Salt Lake City School District reported flooding at four schools, including between $3 million and $5 million of damage at East High School.
The school's basement was flooded, including the basketball court, district spokeswoman Yandary Zavala Chatwin said. The flood damaged electrical systems, the air conditioning system and several classrooms.
"It's a fairly significant project," Chatwin said. "We hope to be able to keep things on track to open school on Aug. 21."
Classrooms at Highland High and Emerson Elementary also flooded. At Highland, the storm blew a cottonwood tree onto a batting cage and rain water soaked the fitness center. The damage will cost between $350,000 and $500,000 to repair, Chatwin said.
Water damaged books and computers in the basement of the Salt Lake City Library's Sprague Branch. The library will be closed for several months, said library spokesman Andrew Shaw.
"We've lost thousands of books in our children's library, our teen library and nonfiction collection," Shaw said.
The National Weather Service called the precipitation from overnight thunderstorms along the Wasatch Front as "torrential."
The city asked people who were affected by flooding to report damage to their homes, cars, streets or property to the Public Utilities Department at 801-483-6700, option 1.