Late last evening, Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson declared a state of emergency in response to the flooding caused by the high level of spring runoff in the county. Salt Lake County has experienced a historic, record-breaking snowpack, resulting in extremely high levels of water flowing through our rivers and streams. On Tuesday, Emigration Creek flooded past its banks in multiple locations in Salt Lake City and the Emigration Metro Township, spurring round-the-clock emergency response from both municipalities and Salt Lake County. Hundreds of volunteers showed up last night to support their community by filling and placing sandbags in a human chain along the creek bed at higher elevations and along 1700 South in Salt Lake City.
“I’m proud to live in a community where people step up when it’s needed. While we remain concerned about flooding, the amazing response from impacted residents, our crews, and volunteers is heartening. I’m so grateful to the neighbors who stood arm in arm with Salt Lake County Flood Control and Salt Lake City crews to protect homes. Our teams are working around the clock to clear debris, manage flows, and protect our community,” said Mayor Wilson.
Salt Lake County has been preparing for months for the certainty that this unprecedented snowpack would translate into extremely high water flows in our waterways especially as we began to see very warm temperatures recently. Ultimately the high volume of snowmelt led to the conditions we saw unfold last night. Our teams continued to work through the night to adapt to the fast-changing conditions with the protection of our affected residents top of mind. With today’s cooler temperatures, we will see a slower rate of snowmelt resulting in lower water flows. This will allow our crews to assess and adjust responses to what will likely be an emergency response to the affected areas for the near future.
The declaration of a state of emergency allows the county to mobilize all available resources to address the current flood conditions, including deploying emergency response teams, increasing staffing levels, and utilizing specialized equipment to protect the residents and property of the county. It will also enable the county to access additional resources from the state and federal government to help alleviate the impact of the flood.
Salt Lake County’s state of emergency declaration recognizes the existing emergency in Salt Lake City and Emigration Canyon Metro Township and the imminent threat of flooding in other municipalities and unincorporated areas in Salt Lake County. The declaration takes effect immediately, lasts for 30 days, and can be extended by the Salt Lake County Council if needed.
“With the increased amount of runoff we have experienced the last couple of days in Emigration Creek, our crews continue to divert water down a local street into a storm drain to keep the water flowing, limiting flooding to the roadway, with our residents’ safety top of mind,” said Salt Lake County Flood Control Director Kade Moncur. “Our teams are continuing to work 24/7 to address the conditions as they continue to evolve.”
The full declaration can be found here.
Mayor Wilson urges all residents and businesses in the affected areas to take necessary precautions and stay informed of the situation through local media outlets and the county’s emergency management channels. Residents can find more information, including the floodplain map and sandbag locations, at slco.to/flood and slco.to/info. Follow Salt Lake County (Twitter, Facebook) and SLCo Emergency Management (Twitter, Facebook).
Areas along Red Butte Creek, Emigration Creek, City Creek, Big Cottonwood Creek, Little Cottonwood Creek, and Millcreek are at the highest risk of spring runoff flooding caused by this year’s record-breaking snowpack.
An emergency operations center has been activated to coordinate the response efforts. The county is working closely with municipal, state, and federal officials to manage the evolving conditions and ensure that all necessary measures are taken to protect the residents and property of the county.
The county will continue to provide updates on the situation as circumstances warrant and strongly encourages all residents to stay vigilant and take appropriate actions to ensure their safety and the safety of their families.