Flood Awareness Month: Will Utah experience snowmelt flooding this year?

Local News

Courtesy: Utah Department of Public Safety

Utah (ABC4) – Spring is just around the corner. In Utah, spring means blooms, rain showers, and sunshine accompanied by some snowmelt runoff and potential flood dangers. 

Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox declared March as Flood Awareness Month in Utah. According to Gov. Cox’s deceleration, “flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather-related event.”  

In his deceleration Gov. Cox says Utah residents can prepare themselves for flooding and other natural disasters by having a disaster plan, kit, and supplies. 

The Utah Department of Public Safety, DPS, says many Utahns feel they are already protected from flood damage. “But you’re probably not,” as stated on the DPS website.

DPS says flooding is the most common natural disaster in Utah, yet most homeowners and residents aren’t properly covered. 

Below are facts shared by the Utah Department of Public Safety. 

Homeowners’ insurance only covers pipe breaks inside of your home. According to DPS, flooding caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage is not covered by most homeowners and renters insurance. 

Did you know one inch of water can cause $26,000 worth of damage? DPS says repair costs for water damage really add up once you’ve done what is necessary to replace your possessions and household installations restoring them back up to code.

Courtesy: Utah Department of Public Safety

Homes outside of designated floodplains are at risk of flood damage. You don’t need to live near water to experience flooding, DPS shares. More than 70% of flooding in Utah in the past few years has been outside flood hazard areas. 

The value of insurance is much higher than the cost. According to DPS, the average property owner can purchase flood insurance for less than $2 a day. DPS recommends buying flood insurance before a flood happens so you are covered under any circumstance. 

Officials say 97% of Utahns don’t have proper flood coverage. Typical flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, DPS shares. If you want to purchase a policy until after a flood even the property might not be protected. 

According to Gov. Cox’s declaration, 10 of Utah’s 15 major disaster declarations have been related to flooding. 

Utah has experienced a drought this season. With late and little snowfall the state has been in need of all precipitation. 

ABC4 News Meteorologist Adam Carroll says “Due to our ongoing exceptional drought and soils remaining extremely dry, flooding is not likely at this time. The Spring runoff forecast is disappointing thanks to low snowpacks throughout the state.”

ABC4 News Chief Meteorologist Alana Brophy says as a whole, the state continues to battle severe drought conditions. “However, flash flooding is a frequent tragedy in Utah due to our terrain and routine thunderstorms. Flash floods can be deadly, and are not impacted by drought, so awareness when it comes to all types of flooding is critical, especially since most Utahns love to spend time in the outdoors.”

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