Officials Warning Utahns Of Dangers Following Flooding In S. Utah

Mar 7, 2019, 1:03 PM | Updated: 1:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Thursday’s rainfall continued to be a concern for areas affected by Wednesday flooding, and officials are using the incidents to educate the public on flood preparedness.

Gov. Gary Herbert declared March as Flood Safety Awareness Month. In light of the recent floods, it’s a perfect time for Utahns to learn about dangers from flowing rivers to flooding streets to flooded homes.

National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney said the state’s current snowpack is between 130 – 135 percent in northern areas and 165 percent in the south. The spring runoff from that snowpack, coupled with the additional rain, can lead to even more flooding, he said.

Some areas of Utah have already experienced massive amounts of flooding. The Virgin River went from a flow of about 100 cubic feet per second to roughly 7,000 cubic feet per second overnight. Portions of Zion National Park also flooded.

“When we have this large runoff, people die in the rivers,” McInerney said. “People fall in the rivers, we have little children that fall in the rivers, we have young people that think they can walk across these flooded streams.”

“Once you fall into these areas — the water is in the high 30s — it takes your breath away,” he added. “It is so cold, it’s moving so swiftly, and it’s the most dangerous place in Utah during the spring.”

McInerney said the rainfall by itself wasn’t much. However, the storm helped melt some snowpack, which led to the massive flood.

Those who avoid the outdoors aren’t immune to flooding, though.

The elements can, and often do, hit houses. What homeowners may not realize is homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. According to the Division of Emergency management, 97 percent of Utahns do not have coverage and end up paying out of pocket.

Following spring is Monsoon season from about July to October, so burn scars could also cause some flooding issues.

For more information about facts on flooding visit floodfacts.utah.gov

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Officials Warning Utahns Of Dangers Following Flooding In S. Utah