Eastern Utah bracing for extreme weather

Jun 20, 2024, 6:46 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2024, 5:44 am

MOAB — The remnants of a tropical storm that flooded parts of Texas are expected to impact southeastern Utah Friday and officials urged people to protect their homes from potential flooding.

Forecast models show the storms could hit several state and national parks, including Arches, Escalante, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and possibly parts of Zion.

KSL meteorologist Devan Masciulli said Tropical Storm Alberto will weaken as it moves onshore.

“But we will get the atmospheric moisture with that storm system, colliding with energy in eastern Utah that will create strong thunderstorms,” Masciulli said.

Cora Phillips, emergency management director for Grand County, said people should prepare for flooding.

“It could be blue skies in Moab,” Phillips said. “But the storm could be on the mountains and water runs downhill, and quickly, and can cause those flash flood events.”

Philips said it’s very important to stay informed about the weather.

“When you see gray clouds, dark clouds on the mountain, certainly any indication that there might be a flash flood potential or flood potential, get to high ground to eliminate that risk.”

Phillips advised people to stay away from creeks, low-lying areas and slot canyons as floodwaters can be really dangerous.

“Even 6 inches of rainfall can knock you off your feet,” Phillips said.

Phillips said that it may be hard to tell how much floodwater there is when it causes damage to roadways.

“So I can’t emphasize that enough. Do not enter flood waters and get to high ground,” Phillips said.

Phillips told KSL that many slot canyons in Grand County don’t have good cell service, so its crucial for people to stay informed and get to high ground to eliminate safety risks.

“If you can change your plans, I would recommend to do so,” Phillips said.

Phillips recommends buying flood insurance and said it can help people recover faster and more fully.

Flood Preparation Flyer for Eastern Utah residents. (Grand County)

USGS has water alerts for Grand County to help people monitor conditions and avoid flooded areas.

To prevent significant damage, the county has sandbags available until 2 p.m. Friday for residents to fill and place around their homes.

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Eastern Utah bracing for extreme weather