Red Cross warns Utahns to be prepared for flooding, spring runoff. Here’s how.

Mar 22, 2023, 7:31 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 11:54 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The American Red Cross has a warning for Utahns this spring – prepare for the possibility of flooding in the coming months.

Experts said this year’s runoff could melt at an alarming rate as many mountain areas of Utah saw record amounts of snow.

“We don’t wait for the disaster to happen now,” Jenifer Pipa, of the American Red Cross said. “That’s why we invest in the mission today so that we are there the moment that snow starts to melt. So that we are there and ready to help communities begin recovery if they do in fact become flooded from that snow melt.”

Pipa is vice president of disaster programs at the Red Cross.  The Red Cross is already working with state emergency management to determine which areas of the state could be impacted the most by flooding.

State emergency managers met earlier this month to update and coordinate plans for flood preparations and response while looking ahead at the areas of greatest risk over the next two weeks.

Emergency managers update flood response preparations as more storms line up

Forecasters were keeping a closer eye on parts of Box Elder and Cache counties, the Ogden and Heber valleys, and sections of southern Utah when approaching rains once again threatened to bring the potential of sheet flooding last weekend.

Emergency managers acknowledged, though, that at this time of year, flooding could surface practically anywhere under the right circumstances.

“We just have to be prepared for everything,” said Angela Lang, response coordination bureau chief with the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management.

Lang said the Division of Emergency Management and the Utah Department of Transportation had been working to obtain 1.5 million sandbags to distribute when they are needed by local and tribal partners.

Residents all over Utah are getting ready.

There are other steps people should take ahead of the snowmelt.

“Things like having a kit prepared, making sure you have important documents, lifesaving medications so that if you do have to in fact evacuate your home, you’re ready to go, your family knows where you’re going , you have communicated that and that you have a safe place to stay until after the flood waters have receded,” Pipa added.

BeReadyUtah.gov has a list of items you should have in the event of a flood.

Zack Craghead is among the people concerned that they could have a lot on their plates in the coming days due to flooding.

“If it all comes at once, it’s going to be a lot of water,” Craghead said.

He’s a co-owner at Mike Knorr plumbing, and he’s seeing neighborhoods where the snow was high and close to homes.

“All that ice builds up, and you know, double-check your rain gutters, make sure that moisture is coming away from the house as much as you can,” he explained.

What you do today can really help in the future if flooding becomes a threat.

“Mother Nature is now challenging us every day of the year,” Pipa said. “We are mounting large-scale disaster relief responses every 10 – 12 days now as an organization. We are in a near constant state of response and we are making sure our communities are ready to respond as well.”

The American Red Cross is currently taking donations. Click here to learn more about how you can take donations.

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Red Cross warns Utahns to be prepared for flooding, spring runoff. Here’s how.