UTAH (ABC4) — With the record snowfall hitting Utah, many are concerned about where all that water will go. Some worry the state will see something similar to what occurred in 1983. According to Utah’s Division of Emergency Management, of Utah’s 15 natural disaster declarations, 10 were flood-related.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides floodplain maps for most of Utah, including a search bar where you can type in your home address.
Floodplain manager for Utah’s Division of Emergency Management Jamie Huff said if the map suggests you have a 1 percent chance of an annual flood, the risk is considered high. A 0.2 percent is medium risk. If there is no color, it’s low risk, but Huff said low risk does not mean you’re safe.
“Floods don’t stay within the boundaries on a map. Anywhere it can rain, it can flood, so everyone should be prepared for potential flooding at any time,” Huff said.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many of these maps can be extremely old and some areas in Utah do not have a map at all. Huff said the priority for mapping is given to highly populated areas. Utah has experienced a lot of unexpected growth and the mapping agencies are playing catch up.
“We’re building in places that maybe, you know, some of our communities never imagined… So now we’re having to keep up with that to map those particular areas and provide more of that information and risk information to residents,” said Huff.
For more updated maps, Huff recommends checking in with your local floodplain manager. Every community’s floodplain manager is different, but a good starting point would be to call your city or county’s main line to be directed to the right person.
Huff added if you live near some type of stream, a low-lying area, or an area known for poor drainage, your home may be at risk as well.
If your home does not appear to be in an area that could flood Huff still recommends everyone purchase flood insurance to be on the safe side, adding that some flood insurance takes up to 30 days to activate.
General homeowners as well as renters insurance typically do not cover floods. Most insurance agencies require a separate policy for flooding.
For more information on flood hazards in Utah, check the Utah Division of Emergency Management’s website.