Cache County workers prepare for flooding ahead of spring runoff

Mar 15, 2023, 6:46 PM | Updated: 6:50 pm

CACHE COUNTY, Utah — Residents and emergency managers all across Utah have been preparing for the worst as the winter’s massive snowfall turns into runoff.

In Cache County residents and leaders are getting ready by lining up the resources including sandbags and state resources.

The big concern out there is that the snowpack in the mountains surrounding Cache Valley is now at or above record levels.

More is on the way as flood watches were 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.

Cache County residents are already concerned about the large amount of snow that’s starting to melt near homes.

We can all hope for the best, that all of the snow will slowly melt away, but past experience shows that is not likely.

“We want to stay cool and we want the warm-up to be gradual,” David Zook, Cache County Executive said.

He said they’re preparing for the worst.

Road crews have already filled approximately 75,000 sandbags which are mostly for their own use as they get called out to help protect roads and bridges.

Every one of the SNOWTEL (Snow Telemetry) sites that feed into our valley here is at or above record levels,” Zook said. “When that snow melts, we know our rivers will fill up and we know there will be high flows in the rivers down here in the valley.”

Sandbag stations for homeowners started opening up around the county and in many of the cities last week.

Zook said, “One of the best things people can do is clear snow away from their house. If there are places where the snow could melt and get into their basement, it should be shoveled away and cleared away so that when it melts it doesn’t end up inside their home.”

David Zook, Cache County Executive

David Zook, Cache County Executive (KSL TV)

Zook says the governor’s office already reached out Wednesday helping to coordinate when and how they can call on help from the state when needed.

“We talked about potential resources that might be available to help us if we needed it and reported to them what steps we’ve taken to prepare ourselves here in Cache County,” Zook said.

While temperatures remain cool and the water flows at a moderate pace, there’s concern for the possibility of rain in the coming days.

Zook adds that it’s a good idea for homeowners to take this time to prepare before things get worse.

He added, if people have had flooding before there’s a chance that they’ll see it again. It could be even worse with the amount of water we have waiting up above.

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Cache County workers prepare for flooding ahead of spring runoff