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‘We are runoff ready’ amid 130% snowpack

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Just over a year after Salt Lake County cities were threatened by a historic snowpack and spring runoff, county officials are saying they stand ready to handle this year’s snow melt.

Although this year’s snowpack is lower than last year’s levels, the snow water equivalent in areas surrounding the Salt Lake Valley is still at 130% of normal. Salt Lake County officials said the likelihood of a major flooding event is low based on those conditions but it’s still possible to face some flooding issues this runoff season.

“We know from experience that we have a resilient community that is ready to meet challenges. County crews are ready to protect our community,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “While we anticipate high and fast-running water, we trust in the vigilance of County residents to exercise caution. Together, we’ll safely navigate this season.”

Teams with Salt Lake County Flood Control are reportedly closely monitoring conditions daily and are on hand to respond to any issues that may arise. But proactive work done in 2023 has already mitigated much of the danger.

Last year, Utah saw widespread flooding across the state thanks to a historic 2022-23 winter season with record-breaking snowfall. In Salt Lake County, runoff from Big Cottonwood Canyon and Emigration Creek caused significant flooding. Flood control teams were able to mitigate much of that damage by clearing streams in creeks and dredging 10 flood control detention basins, among other preventative measures.

That work, on top of the plans made for emergencies, has left Salt Lake County “well-equipped” to handle any challenges.

“Safety is our utmost priority,” said Director of Flood Control Kade Moncur. “We’ll do our part to keep the County safe. Our teams are on the frontlines, working every day to stay on top of the latest conditions. We’re confident in our preparations for the runoff season. We hope the community will work with us by doing their part to stay safe near water.”

While widespread flooding is not expected in the 2024 runoff, residents are still encouraged to stay safe near fast-running water with increased levels.

Those looking for added peace of mind can pick up free unfilled sandbags and dirt from Salt Lake County at the Flood Control shed located at 604 West 6960 South in Midvale. The bags are available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents will need to bring their own shovel to fill sandbags and may only take up to 25 bags.

More information about runoff conditions or to find out if you live on a floodplain, visit the Salt Lake County website at slco.org/runoff-ready.

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