Ogden officials warn public to be safe around rising, fast-moving rivers

Apr 2, 2023, 5:20 PM | Updated: 5:33 pm

OGDEN, Utah — Ogden City officials are closely watching rivers in the area as waters rise and pose a safety threat to the public on Sunday.

High Adventure Park visitors can’t miss the loud, rushing waters running by the playground.

“We’re experiencing higher than normal flows right now because of weather that we’ve had,” explained Ogden Emergency Manager Battalion Chief Kenny Miller.

He said the waters are moving quickly, especially as the area continues to get rain and snow.

“Our river’s running about 1,000 cubic feet per second, which is pretty fast,” Miller said. “We reach flood stages at about 1,800-2000 cubic feet per second, so we’re not quite there yet, but if we get a whole lot of runoff real quick or we get a storm events where we get rain on top of the snow, that’ll increase our flows also.”

Miller said water levels are higher than he’s seen in years.

“The last few years, we’ve had a little bit of runoff, but not nearly like it is this year,” he said. “The last time we’ve had this big runoff, I believe, was 2011.”

The rushing waters have overtaken walkways and ramps, and it’s rising close to the height of bridges.

“If you are in the river in a kayak, you need to watch your head because you will be hitting the bridges,” Miller said.

He also noted that the waters hadn’t damaged any properties or houses, but he said it was encroaching on a development near the park.

“If we start getting more moisture and it starts heating up fast, then we’ll get to flood stages pretty quick,” Miller said.

He asked the public to enjoy the waters from a distance.

“We recommend that everybody stays at least 15 feet away,” Miller said.

He said it’s essential to always watch children and animals near the water.

“If there happens to be someone that does fall in, do not go after them, call 911,” Miller said.

He said the swift water teams would be called out to help and warned that the water was extremely cold.

“If you get in the river for a short period of time, you will get hypothermia pretty quick,” Miller said.

He said the city’s keeping an eye on the rising runoff, and in these conditions, it’s good to watch out for yourself and others, too.

“One little slip can put you in the water and put you in a dangerous situation,” Miller said.

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Ogden officials warn public to be safe around rising, fast-moving rivers