Homeowners, emergency managers eye upcoming storms, hope for slow warmup

Mar 6, 2023, 11:13 PM

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — With more snow expected this week, and rain forecast for the coming weekend, emergency managers were continuing to prepare Monday for a spring that could potentially bring flooding and other problems if a warmup occurs too quickly.

Knowing what exactly would unfold and where in the days and weeks to come, however, was still a difficult question to answer for Utah County’s emergency manager — Lt. Peter Quittner with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

“Really, I could name my own salary probably if I could predict what Mother Nature is going to do to us,” Quittner said Monday evening in an interview with KSL TV.

Quittner said the county was keeping an eye on areas such as Hobble Creek Canyon and Spanish Fork Canyon to see what develops.

“Hobble Creek’s had about as much snow as it’s ever had before,” Quittner said. “I was talking to our public works director just last week and their people — every single week — they’re looking at what needs attention right now, how much manpower they have, how much time can they spend doing that, and every week, it’s just a reboot. They’re constantly up there clearing areas, monitoring different things.”

Quittner said monitors and other measures were in place that were not present for other, previous historic flood years.

“People are doing what they can right now to make sure that things are kind of prepped as well as can be prepped for what time of year we’re in right now,” Quittner said.

Homeowners were also anxiously watching Monday, hoping this spring did not bring flooding to their neighborhoods.

Micah Lewis’ backyard borders Hobble Creek. He said he couldn’t remember a winter like this one.

“We get 18 inches one day and then it melts within a week and then we get it again,” Lewis said. “This is the most moisture we’ve received in a winter before.”

He couldn’t fathom what will happen when it is time for all the snow to melt.

“I think there will be some other consequences for all the moisture we’ve gotten,” Lewis said. “Hopefully we don’t get flooded.”

Lewis said Springville City had been offering sandbags for neighbors to fill up themselves.

He said he and his wife needed to remove a branch that had fallen into the creek from his property.

“We’ll be getting it out,” he acknowledged.

Utah County joined other surrounding counties in game-planning for spring and any potential flooding issues.

Wasatch County was planning a “precautionary” sandbagging effort beginning Tuesday.

Quittner urged people to be prepared and “responsible” but also “reasonable” as they readied themselves for whatever the upcoming spring weather brings.

“The amount of snow people have at their homes right now is usually not going to flood them out — it’s going to be water coming from the mountains, something higher,” Quittner said. “What they can do is take reasonable steps: make sure your drains are clear, make sure your gutters are clear, your culverts are clear. Make sure if you’re removing snow, you’re not pushing it toward your home, toward your windows — those types of things. Make sure when it melts, it has somewhere to go as best you can.”

KSL 5 TV Live

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Homeowners, emergency managers eye upcoming storms, hope for slow warmup