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Provo River running high and fast as hotter temperatures fuel spring runoff

Jun 5, 2024, 6:20 PM | Updated: 7:58 pm

PROVO As the temperatures get hotter, cities in Utah are bracing for more Spring runoff from the mountains.

In Provo, the river is already running high and fast. Officials said they’re working to stay ahead of any potential problems.

“It is deep,” said Jacob O’Bryant, Provo City flood plan manager, standing next to the rushing river Wednesday afternoon. “It’s cold.”

O’Bryant said the river is running at just about its peak, and with hotter weather on the doorstep, the city has worked to get ready for even more water running off from the mountains.

“We’ve done a lot of work to clear out debris and obstructions from the river to try and open up any areas under bridges, areas that are heavily vegetated,” he said.

Sandbags ready, if needed

The city also has thousands of sandbags ready just in case.

“At this point, we haven’t seen a need to mobilize that effort,” O’Bryant said, “but we are ready to do so.”

Parts of the Provo River Trail are also closed due to high water.

Parts of the Provo River Trail are also closed due to high water as pictured here on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Stuart Johnson, KSL TV)

“The reservoirs, Deer Creek and Jordanelle, are still full, and they’re still receiving quite a bit of runoff,” said O’Bryant. “That’s why we’re seeing a lot of extra flows here as we anticipate these high temperatures.”

Yet, even with all this water, O’Bryant said officials in Provo do not anticipate any flooding. They believe the water will stay within the river.

“We expect the high flows to be like this for maybe another week or so,” O’Bryant said, “and then to taper off.”

Along the Provo River Trail on Wednesday afternoon, Reuben Redelfs and his kids took a little walk.

“We were hoping to find some snakes, but maybe they’ve all been washed away,” he said.

Redelfs said he walks on the trail a few times a week and has noticed the water getting higher and faster.

“I think it’s high and fast enough for me to tell my kids to stay well away from it,” he said, “because that’s my fear is that someone will get close to it and fall in.”

Indeed, Provo city officials are urging people to be careful as the river remains high.

“It’s several feet deep at least,” O’Bryant said, “and someone can be swept off their feet in as little as six inches of water when it’s moving this quickly.”

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Provo River running high and fast as hotter temperatures fuel spring runoff