Heavy rains lead to flooding in Highland neighborhood as community leaders eye weeks ahead

Mar 15, 2023, 10:23 PM | Updated: 11:15 pm

HIGHLAND, Utah — Crews worked most of the day Wednesday to place sandbags and divert flood waters in one neighborhood after heavy rains melted snow and sent it gushing into a basement and onto two neighboring properties.

“All the water was coming toward a couple of homes here,” Highland city administrator Erin Wells said as she stood next to one of the properties on Ponce De Leon Drive. “We’ve quickly tried to divert the water away from the homes and got a lot of volunteers out here, got our crews out here to get sandbags and new channels dug.”

Summer Anderson said flood waters started streaming into her family’s basement Tuesday.

“My brother woke up and there was just tons of water filled up in his room,” Anderson told KSL TV. “It’s everywhere.”

Fans were still working overtime to dry out the basement which still had patches of standing water as of Wednesday evening.

“We had to build this whole pathway out, like there’s just so many people here, these fans non-stop—like we can’t fall asleep,” Anderson said. “It’s crazy. My house looks like a construction site.”

Wells acknowledged the city was to some degree caught by surprise by the flooding high on the Highland bench.

“We do have a flooding prevention plan but honestly the geography of Highland—we weren’t expecting this until about mid-April,” Wells said. “It did catch us a bit earlier than we were anticipating and so this is the first one and we’ve got plans in place to help prevent it as we move forward in the season.”

The neighborhood flooding issue came as leaders from Highland, American Fork, the U.S. Forest Service, Utah Department of Transportation, Utah County Sheriff’s Office and other entities met Wednesday afternoon to discuss preparations for runoff out of American Fork Canyon.

“Even if it stops snowing today, we have 200 percent of our peak snowpack up there,” American Fork Irrigation president and water master Ernie John said during an interview. “We’ve got to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

John said the worst-case scenario would be continuing to add snow at higher elevations until June 1 and then immediately transitioning to dry conditions and 90 degree temperatures, while a “good case scenario” would entail a “nice, cool spring” until June.

Regardless, he said surrounding communities and responsible agencies aimed to be prepared.

“We’re going to pre-position equipment in various spots along the river,” he said. “Once we get to high water, we will man points from the mouth of American Fork Canyon on down, 24-7.”

He said crews also had to prioritize eliminating multiple logjams over the next 4 to 6 weeks.

“We’ve got some big logjams up American Fork Canyon that we’ve got to deal with so we’re pooling all the agencies together to see what the best way is to deal with them,” John said. “I’m talking half-the-size-of-a-home-sized logjams. That’s big.”

High up on the hillside, the Andersons said they didn’t expect runoff flooding to affect their home.

They expressed gratitude to all the workers and volunteers who helped, while saying they hoped they would be finished with flooding around their property.

“Who thinks this would happen?” Anderson said. “Hopefully we’re done.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Rigby Ranch in Newton, Utah, buried in snow on March 24, 2023. The constant string of storms is mak...
Alex Cabrero

Prolonged winter delays Utah farmers’ planting season

Utah farmers are grateful for all the snow this winter and the water that will come from it, but it's also causing some challenges.
1 day ago
A Torus flywheel. (KSL TV)...
Peter Rosen

Utah man creates company devoted to flywheel energy storage

What weighs as much as a Toyota Corolla, spins at thousands of rotations per minute, and, a Utah entrepreneur hopes, might one day live in your backyard and store power to run your home? It’s called flywheel energy storage.
1 day ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon

Homeless get help, hope from SLC event that includes makeshift courtroom

Hundreds of homeless people gathered at the Salt Palace Friday to connect with services — including a makeshift courtroom — that could help get them off the streets.
1 day ago
FILE: for sale sign...
Ladd Egan

Utah home prices fall after nearly 11 years of increases

The Utah Association of Realtors reports that after 129 months of price increases, January marked the first, year-over-year decline in statewide home prices. And in February, prices dropped again.
1 day ago
Gwyneth Paltrow takes the witness stand to testify about a 2016 ski collision that caused a man to ...
Ayanna Likens

Utah law professor comments on Paltrow ski crash trial as actress takes the stand

The first week of actress Gwyneth Paltrow's trial wrapped up Friday. Paltrow is being sued over a 2016 ski accident. A University of Utah Professor of Law said this trial is very unique.
1 day ago
Before and after measuring station...
Jed Boal

Utah’s record snow is so deep it buried measuring equipment

The record-breaking snowfall this winter has been phenomenal, maybe even more so in the eyes of those who study it closely.  
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Heavy rains lead to flooding in Highland neighborhood as community leaders eye weeks ahead