MORGAN COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The likelihood of spring flooding is on the minds right now of Utah’s emergency managers across the state. Crews in Morgan County have been getting ready for months. They tell ABC4 what they’re doing to avoid major water problems, in this edition of Behind the Badge.
Watching rivers and streams, and this season’s massive snowpack is a big focus right now in Morgan County. Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Manager Deputy Austin Turner said he has been keeping an eye on the ever-rising snowpack since December. With the weather warming up, Turner is expecting significant spring flooding.
One muddy area Turner and ABC4’s Brian Carlson visited, Turner said is all part of the flood plain and could be under water this spring.
Turner said they’ve been working since January to stay ahead of the snow runoff. Water in the Weber River is running high right now on purpose to empty the reservoirs above, like Echo and Rockport. The county has also dumped 20 truckloads of sand around town so families can fill up as many sandbags as they need.
“We as a group are doing everything in our capabilities to mitigate as much flooding in the future as possible,” said Turner.
Part of that preparation includes getting more flood equipment, including a row of pumps they’ll need to pump water out of people’s homes or yards. Morgan County Fire Marshal Dave Rich told Carlson firefighters will be using every single pump as temperatures warm up.
“It’s just going to depend on what mother nature does, if she decides she wants to warm it up then we’re in real trouble,” said Rich.
The need for the pumps has already started. Just days ago rainwater filled up a snowy field in Morgan County which began spilling out into the neighborhood beneath it. That forced crews to find a creative way to release the water. Crews carved walking paths out of the snow to channel the water down into a culvert to go under the street and not on top of it.
Turner expects it won’t be long before crews are called out again, so he’s working on getting heavier equipment to help them clear the water’s paths.
“All in anticipation that hopefully we can keep ahead of it just enough that we don’t have too many homes get flooded,” said Turner.
So although the water and snow aren’t a major problem yet, Turner believes it’s only a matter of time.
When asked how soon could we see possible major flooding? They believe it may start anytime between now and next week. They’re hoping people who live in at-risk areas heed the warning.