Spring Flooding Risks High After Snow-Filled Winter

Mar 18, 2019, 10:07 PM | Updated: 10:47 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Spring is definitely in the air. More and more people are heading outside to soak in every bit of sunshine after a winter packed with snowfall.

As temperatures warm up, snow is melting into Utah’s rivers and streams, increasing the risk of flooding and fast-moving rivers.

Northern Utah currently has between 110-140% of typical snow pack and parts of Southern Utah have 175% of the average, according to the National Weather Service.

All that snow will be melting starting in a few weeks and will be flowing into rivers.

“Hopefully, it comes off in an orderly fashion,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Seaman.

If it warms up too quickly, snow is going to overwhelm Utah’s rivers.

Spring typically brings the potential for swift, fast runoff.

There’s high risk already that anyone that falls in could be carried downstream and potentially under the current.

“With the high, fast flows of the water… it doesn’t take much for a child to fall in,” Seaman warned.

As people start heading outside the National Weather Service and Unified Fire Authority are urging them to watch kids, pets and loved ones around the water.

UFA hopes people heed the warning, but they’re still ready to respond to rescue someone.

“If somebody does jump in the river or is swept away by the river, we urge that somebody does not jump in after them and try to rescue them because often times that person becomes another victim,” says Unified Fire Authority Public Information Officer Ryan Love.

If someone does fall into the river, they should float on their back, lifting their feet up to avoid getting caught by a tree branch or other debris in the water.

River water comes from melting snow, so its right around freezing which can also be deadly.

“It’s almost shocking or paralyzing,” Love says.

Even if rivers don’t look deep, they can still be dangerous. It only takes six inches of water to knock someone off their feet.

Typically spring run-off is between April to May, but its likely runoff will continue into June this year because of the amount of snow in the mountains.

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Spring Flooding Risks High After Snow-Filled Winter