UTAH'S FLOOD WATCH

Sandy eyes forecast with runoff expected to increase

May 16, 2024, 10:31 PM | Updated: May 17, 2024, 9:58 am

SANDY — Eyes were on the forecast Thursday with a key reservoir sitting at capacity, and runoff waters expected to pick up in intensity in the weeks to come.

According to Sandy City Public Utilities assistant director Scott Ellis, the current setup and forecast — with highs ranging from the low-80s to mid-60s over the next 10 days — is trending toward a smooth runoff season.

“Pick up and then slow down and then pick up and slow down for several weeks — that would be great,” Ellis told KSL TV.

Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir as of Thursday afternoon was sitting at capacity with a 12-foot depth in its deepest spots, which Ellis said was fine under the current conditions.

What Ellis said the city does not want to see is a fast and sustained warmup to summer temperatures or worse — heavy rains on top of that kind of warmup.

“If it all melts off in five or six days, we’ll have flooding,” Ellis said. “It will overwhelm our storm drain systems.”

Staying cool for too long could also prove to be problematic.

“We don’t want it to get cold and then stay cold until June 10 and then hit 100 degrees for 2 weeks,” he said.

Ellis struck an optimistic tone, however, that the current pattern would continue and create an ideal runoff scenario.

“I don’t think anyone has any reason to be worried at this point,” Ellis said.

Regardless, he said flows are expected to pick up along the waterways that pass through neighborhoods within the city and neighboring Draper, including Dry Creek, the middle fork of Dry Creek, the south fork of Dry Creek, Little Willow Creek, Big Willow Creek and Rocky Mouth.

“So we have about 6.5 (cubic feet per second) spilling today,” Ellis said as he stood on a bridge over the spillway at Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir. “I think you’ll probably see this triple or quadruple in the next week.”

He said it was important for homeowners with properties along creeks to make sure their yards are ready and to call the city with any concerns about possible issues or obstructions.

With faster-moving waters, he said safety was also a concern.

“Keep track of your kids and your pets,” Ellis said. “It is beautiful and mostly safe, but if you’re not careful it can be tragic.”

Ellis hoped problems could be avoided in the weeks to come.

“As long as we can get through the next month without flooding, we won’t have any concerns,” Ellis said.

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Sandy eyes forecast with runoff expected to increase