Several areas in Utah are under flood warnings as spring runoff causes water levels to rise.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for Emigration Creek in Emigration Canyon, the South Fork of the Ogden River near Huntsville, Sevier River near Hatch, in Garfield County, and the Little Bear River in Paradise, in Cache County.
The flood warning in Emigration Creek is expected to impact the east bench of Salt Lake City with flows through Wednesday night. The flow is anticipated to peak Thursday morning at 160 cubic feet per second.
The Ogden River flood warning will peak Friday morning but flooding is expected to linger through the beginning of next week.
Sevier River will have moderate flows peaking Tuesday and Wednesday but flood levels will continue through Friday evening.
Little Bear River is forecasted to reach flood stage Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night, with a peak late Tuesday into early Wednesday.
The National Weather Service also put into effect an areal flood warning from Tuesday to Thursday afternoon for flooding near Garden City in Rich County to the Idaho border. An areal flood advisory is in effect until Wednesday afternoon for Birdseye in Utah County along U.S. 89.
The weather service defines an areal flood warning as “normally issued for flooding that develops more gradually, usually from prolonged and persistent moderate to heavy rainfall. This results in a gradual ponding or buildup of water in low-lying, flood-prone areas, as well as small creeks and streams.”
Flood watches are in effect through Friday for Little Bear River below the Hyrum Reservoir and the Weber River near Plain City.
The city of Nephi posted a fast flow warning Tuesday, saying the warm temperatures are bringing “very fast and high flow” for the creeks in the area. “This is just the beginning of spring runoff and we expect more in the following weeks. Please, use extreme caution when near or by creek banks,” city officials said.
You can find more information on Colorado Basin River Forecast Center’s page or check out Salt Lake County’s Runoff Ready website.
Little Cottonwood Canyon is closed after a mudslide covered the road Tuesday afternoon about 7 miles up the canyon.
The Utah Department of Transportation said the slide is about 4 feet deep, 100 feet wide and filled with large woody debris. The debris flow is slow moving and the department does not have an estimated time for it to reopen.
“Fortunately, our crews closed the canyon early this morning for the potential of slides hitting the road,” UDOT said in a tweet.
🚧 #RoadClosureUpdate🚧— UDOT Cottonwood Canyons (@UDOTcottonwoods) May 2, 2023
REMINDER: #SR210 CLOSED
Mudslide crossed the road earlier today, ~4’ deep, 100’ wide with large woody debris. Slow moving debris flow, @UtahDOT & @UDOTavy are slowly and cautiously assessing impacts.
📍: Seven Turns (5/2) pic.twitter.com/PCHeOEckoI
UDOT is closely monitoring and assessing canyon safety each day to determine if closures are needed for the risk of mudslides, avalanches, flooding, rockfalls and more.
Spring runoff increases slide risks as it affects and shifts soil. Two homes in Draper were destroyed April 22 when the soil in their foundation slid from spring runoff effects.
Sandbags and safety
Dozens of sandbag-filling events have occurred across the valley this spring, all in preparation for the massive spring runoff Utah is experiencing after a record-breaking snowpack season. Sandbagging helps divert flood waters from damaging properties.
More than 18,000 sandbags were filled Saturday in Murray alone and people in Spanish Fork came together Monday night to fill sandbags to prepare for Tuesday's flooding.
Residents can get sandbags by calling their local Public Works Department.
On Monday, sandbags were the only thing saving Ruth's Diner in Emigration Canyon from being damaged by the creek overflowing.
Happening right now: emigration creek going over its bank and flooding the lower patio area of the popular Ruth’s Diner. They’ve put up sandbags to diver water. #utfloodwatch @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/ciIrkCtU4J— Dan Rascon (@TVDanRascon) May 2, 2023
As water levels rise, the need for safety around water is even more crucial. Government leaders advise everyone to steer clear of flooded areas and to teach their children to stay far away to avoid potential drownings.
A recovery operation is underway for a woman who was caught in the Weber River on Monday.
Salt Lake County said on Twitter to assume all flood waters are contaminated.