Salt Lake City monitors City Creek as it hits its peak in two weeks

May 10, 2023, 4:59 PM | Updated: 7:05 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — In Salt Lake City, the flooding risk from the last two creeks is diminishing, but the risk from another creek is rising.

On Wednesday, Salt Lake County Flood Control crews were removing piles of debris from City Creek gathered in recent weeks. The cool weather has kept floodwaters down in the area, but City Creek is rising, and flood control crews were working midway up the canyon today, clearing debris.

“City Creek is already starting to rise. But, we’re still at least two weeks away from a peak event,” explained Laura Briefer, Director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities.

Click here for all current and upcoming forecasts on Utah’s flooding and resources to protect your home.

In anticipation, the city closed the canyon to traffic so that workers could fill trucks with sticks and logs cut out of the creek bed over the last few weeks. The Colorado River Basin Forecast Center projects a 50% probability that the water will rise close to the flood stage but not exceed it.

“Which downstream, our capacity can handle that,” Briefer said.

However, Briefer said that rapid heating could change that forecast.

“Right now, the weather has been ideal actually for a measured flow of City Creek,” she said. “We’ve had these warm days, and now we’re in a cooler spell. Next week it will get significantly warmer, so we’ll start to see the streamflows pick up.“

Salt Lake City crews clearing up City Creek Canyon. (KSLTV) Salt Lake City crews clearing up City Creek Canyon. (KSLTV) Salt Lake City crews clearing up City Creek Canyon. (KSLTV)

Meantime, Emigration and Red Butte Creeks have lost a significant amount of their snowpack.

“We are going to start seeing flows declining in both of those dreams,” Briefer said.

As for Parleys Creek, crews will soon reduce the flows out of Little Dell and Mountain Dell reservoirs, reducing the flow into Sugar House Park. The city expects it will be able to re-open Sugar House Park to cars sometime soon.

But it’s still too early to let their guard down as Salt Lake City officials continue to monitor the creeks around the clock.

“The streams are still flowing pretty high. So, they are still looking for potential debris that could get trapped in the culverts, which could cause a problem,” Briefer said.

City officials said in three to four weeks, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood creeks runoff will empty into the Jordan River.

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Salt Lake City monitors City Creek as it hits its peak in two weeks