WEATHER

Wasatch County prepares for potential spring flooding; rain expected this weekend

Mar 7, 2023, 10:38 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 4:21 pm

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — The snow was already three- to four-feet deep in many areas of the Heber Valley as of Tuesday, and the coming weekend was threatening to add rainfall on top of all the powder.

With the threat of potential spring flooding looming sooner or later somewhere in the county, emergency managers launched a sandbagging project Tuesday morning to assist homeowners in being proactive.

“We had 36 tons of sand here and we brought another 12 tons of sand in today,” Wasatch County Director of Emergency Management Jeremy Hales said. “We’ve gone through almost 1,000 sandbags.”

The sandbagging project was expected to be in operation for the foreseeable future, Hales said, and would be open to residents from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Wasatch County Public Works Building.

Anyone showing up for sandbags was being asked to scan a QR code and fill out a short survey to help give county officials an idea where the sandbags were headed.

Hales wasn’t certain what the weekend would bring in terms of precipitation, or what flooding may or may not occur in the weeks to come.

He acknowledged rain expected this weekend, on top of all the snow, wasn’t necessarily a positive development.

“That’s where we have the sheet flooding that can occur,” Hales told KSL TV. “It gets in and it saturates the snow and then it runs across the top of the frozen ground and into wherever it goes.”

With snow piled high in valley locations, and snowpack nearly double the normal totals in the mountains west of town, Hales said the county wanted to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best out of the inevitable warmup to spring.

“Are we concerned?” Hales said. “Yes, but I think this is our way to take that step and alleviate those concerns.”

The potential for flooding was a talking point among a number of residents KSL TV encountered Tuesday afternoon.

Wylie Larsen said it had just been the topic on her walk with a friend.

“It’s definitely been in a lot of conversations,” Larsen said. “Last year, the creeks were even pretty fast and high and there wasn’t hardly any snow, and this year, you can’t even imagine what the flooding is going to look like.”

Larsen said she hoped it wouldn’t be the case, but she believed flooding would become a reality somewhere in the county in the weeks ahead.

Brady Probst also acknowledged the risk as he shoveled snow away from some mailboxes in his neighborhood. There the snow was piled as high as seven feet next to driveways.

“Any homeowner would be worried about flooding, the potential of damage to their property,” Probst said. “Not much you can do about it. Mother Nature is in control and you just roll with the punches.”

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Wasatch County prepares for potential spring flooding; rain expected this weekend