Flood watches extended across southern Utah as state hits record snowpack water level
SALT LAKE CITY — Flood watches have been extended through Thursday evening for parts of southern Utah as another round of storms brought heavy valley rain and mountain snow to the state.
With this latest snowpack addition, meteorologists say Utah has hit a statewide record snow water equivalent of 23.2 inches for March 15. Experts track Utah’s snowpack using snow water equivalent, which estimates how much snow would be in the water if it melted. Typically, the state’s snowpack peaks around April 1, with a 30-year median of 15.8 inches.
In southern Utah, heavy rain from Wednesday’s storms means higher flows are possible in all area streams, rivers and slot canyons.
Most of the Wasatch Front has picked up .25-.50" with some big winners in Utah County and the East Bench of Salt Lake pushing .60-.75" 🌧️🤩 pic.twitter.com/eYts0DI7fX
— Matthew Johnson (@KSL_Matt) March 15, 2023
In particular, the National Weather Service expects the Virgin River at Bloomington may approach, if not exceed, flood stage by Thursday morning.
The flood watch includes most of Kane County and the southern half of Washington County, along with most of Washington County east of Interstate 15.
Zion National Park is also covered by the flood watch. Rainfall combined with deep snowpack will create a dangerous runoff flowing into the Subway, the Narrows and other drainages throughout Zion National Park that feed into the Virgin River.
Wednesday morning, Washington County officials reported Gunlock and Baker reservoirs were spilling over. Deputies said both spillways were working as designed, and Washington County Emergency Services are monitoring the situation.
Water is coming over Gunlock Reservoir through the spillway!!! WOW!! @NWSSaltLakeCity #utwx pic.twitter.com/kKYCgPnLEl
— Brody_wx (@Brody_wx) March 15, 2023
In northern Utah, Highland city officials reported some localized urban flooding Wednesday afternoon.
“We are currently working to help homeowners sandbag to protect their properties. Those willing and able to help sandbag would be greatly appreciated. Please report to 12663 N. Ponce De Leon Drive,” officials said.
Salt Lake County emergency service crews recommended all Utahns do the following to avoid any localized flooding as spring runoff begins to flow:
- Ensure your gutters are free from debris (twigs, leaves, trash, etc.)
- Clear storm drains near your house
- Make sure your sump pump, French Drain, or any other kind of drainage system is in good working order
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