Water levels to peak in Sandy, steer clear of swift water

Jun 2, 2023, 2:02 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2023, 11:19 am

SANDY, Utah — Water levels will peak in Sandy City Rivers in the next few weeks.

As hikers hit the trail, Sandy Water and Fire crews sent a message of caution as several rescues happen on the Bell Canyon trail every year, particularly around the Bell Canyon waterfall.

While the waterfalls are beautiful, the risk of getting too close to the water is not worth it.

Sandy officials said the hike up to the waterfalls takes about an hour.

The same goes for rescue resources if they are needed in the area.

It only takes a split second for an emergency to unfold.

Jeff Bassett, Sandy City fire chief, said, “That cold water, within probably just a few seconds, maybe a few minutes, will, you know, make your body cramp up, so that you may not have the strength to get out of that water.”

The water is cold and destructive.

Earlier in the week, government leaders in Utah County and Sandy issued emergency declarations to help mitigate and respond to potential flooding from the spring runoff.

Utah County Commission Chairwoman Amelia Powers Gardner signed a declaration for the county on Tuesday, and Sandy Mayor Monica Zoltanski signed an emergency order Wednesday morning.

From twisted ankles to people trying to jump across or into the waterfalls, response teams said to stick to the trail for safety’s sake.

Looks can also be deceiving.

“We see a forecast, and we’re going to be a little bit below flood stage: There’s still a 10-20% chance it could be way higher, or 10-20% chance it can be way lower,” Tom Ward, Sandy public utilities director said.

Michael Finger is on the other side of rescue efforts when someone calls for help as a search and rescue member.

“We have a dry suit. This keeps a barrier between you and the water,” Finger said.

So far this year, officials said there have been no rescues, and they hope to keep it that way.

Finger said the most common mistake rescued hikers make is leaving without enough water and light sources.

For more information about flooding visit floodsmart.gov.

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Water levels to peak in Sandy, steer clear of swift water