woman swept away in Weber County; Salt Lake City is targeting Emigration Creek
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Flood warnings and vigilance remain in effect across much of Utah this week, although an end to the imminent danger is in sight.
After high temperatures oscillated in the 80s from Saturday through Tuesday — with highs of about 80 again forecast in Salt Lake City on Wednesday — temperatures are set to drop, according to the National Weather Service. The Salt Lake City area can expect highs in the low 70s on Thursday and low to mid 60s Friday through Wednesday.
That drop in temperature should slow the melting of Utah’s record winter snow pack, which is currently fueling flood risk. Normal temperatures for this time of year are in the mid to high 60’s.
Meanwhile, the Beehive State continues to be plagued by flooding problems.
Woman swept away in Weber County
Rescuers in Weber County continued Tuesday to search for a woman who was swept away by the raging Weber River near Uintah Monday night. Weber Fire District officials said a woman was heard screaming as witnesses saw her become trapped in the fast-moving waters.
The woman is said to be in her twenties. As of late Monday, the ongoing search along the river became a salvage mission.
Salt Lake City is targeting Emigration Creek
In Salt Lake City, officials are keeping an eye on Emigration Creek, which is expected to exceed flood level late Tuesday and Wednesday.
Emigration Creek peaked overnight Monday, but flow was lower than expected, Laura Briefer, director of the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities, told city council members Tuesday afternoon. A flood warning remains in effect for the creek through Thursday morning.
The flood control system is capable of handling peak flows, which are currently forecast to be in the vicinity of 160 cubic feet per second. But Briefer said teams will work around the clock to ensure no blockages in culverts or storm drains cause problems. In mid-April — when a blockage in the system allowed water to spill over the pavement near Wasatch Hollow Park — the flow on the creek peaked at 155 cfs.
If flooding does occur, officials expect it to be minor and limited to streets. To report any issues or concerns regarding the condition of Emigration Creek, call the Salt Lake City Public Utility Dispatch Number 24-hour at 801-483-6700.
“With Emigration Creek doing its job this week,” Briefer said, “we’re also taking a very close look at Parleys Creek and City Creek and making sure the debris pools over Memory Grove are well maintained.”
City Creek’s flow was just beginning to revitalize, she said. But the expected cooldown this weekend seemed ideal for the runoff.
Briefer noted that the Jordan is not expected to be a problem in the coming days as both the river and the Surplus Canal have capacity.
Mudslide in Little Cottonwood Canyon
A large mudslide swept down State Road 210 about halfway up Little Cottonwood Canyon Tuesday afternoon, pushing thick mud across the road.
The road was already closed at this time due to increased avalanche danger. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the Utah Department of Transportation had no estimate of when it might reopen.
Earlier Tuesday, State Road 190 in Big Cottonwood Canyon was closed for avalanche control work. The roadway was reopened around 3 p.m
East of Provo, a 30-mile stretch of US Highway 89 through Spanish Fork Canyon was closed overnight Monday due to flooding. Late Tuesday morning, the stretch of road – which stretched from the intersection of US Highway 6 near Thistle to Mount Pleasant – reopened, but it’s possible it could be closed again, officials advised.
Sugar House Park closed to cars for at least 2 weeks
Sugar House Park will be closed to vehicles until at least May 14th. The park is designed as a catchment basin, and the area around the park’s pond continues to be flooded by controlled releases from the Mountain Dell and Little Dell reservoirs.
There was also Tuesday’s flooding at Parleys Nature Preserve and Hidden Hollow, both of which are also designed as catchment areas.
Officials monitor the spillway at Hyrum Dam
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation monitors the spillway at Hyrum Dam — on the Little Bear River, about 9 miles southwest of Logan — 24/7 while operators release “a large volume of water” to raise Hyrum Reservoir water levels during warm temperatures regulate” have significantly increased snowmelt and discharge into the reservoir.”
A flood watch is in place for the area below the reservoir until Friday morning.
“The spillway has served us well for 90 years,” said Wayne Pullan, the bureau’s regional director, “but because of its age and because it lacks the features of a modern spillway — and out of caution — reclamation has worked quickly around heavy equipment and rockfill material.” ready near the spillway in case we need to take immediate action.”
In Paradise, south of Hyrum, there is a flood warning for the Little Bear River.
The Hyrum Dam was constructed in 1935 and serves as a storage facility for irrigation and municipal use.
The Garden City flood warning remains in effect
A flood warning remains in effect for the Garden City area of Rich County through 3 p.m. Thursday as snowmelt affects rivers, streams, creeks and other low-lying areas.
The Mayor of Garden City declared a state of emergency Monday to better prepare for flooding and flood control. He encouraged all homeowners to check their properties and found that about 80% of homes are vacation rentals or short-term rentals.
Other flood risk throughout Utah
Further south, a flood warning along the lower Weber River in Plain City was lifted on Tuesday after an updated forecast called for the river to remain below flood levels, which are 27 feet.
However, the Weather Service warned that flows in the “Area of Action” – between 25 and 27 feet – will continue into next week. A flood watch in the area will remain in effect through Friday evening.
There is a “moderate” risk of flooding near Huntsville along the south fork of the Ogden River through Thursday. The river is expected to peak at about 5.3 feet/1,500 cfs Friday morning, above the high tide level of 4.6 feet/992 cfs. Towards the weekend the currents decrease.
In southern Utah, near the town of Hatch in Garfield County, a flood warning is in effect for the Sevier River. The river is expected to “sway” around the high water level — 3.9 feet — by Friday morning. The water level is expected to drop over the weekend.
— Blake Apgar, a Salt Lake Tribune contributor, contributed to this report.