SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Gov. Cox signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency Tuesday, Apr. 18, due to the increased flood risk throughout the state and decreasing funding for flood mitigation, according to a press release.
Gov. Cox declared a state of emergency for the next 30 days, allowing the state to tap into emergency management funds and seek help from the federal government and other states if necessary.
Besides private property damage, flood risks include “avalanches, landslides, rockslides, mudslides” and other dangerous or damaging conditions, the release said.
While the legislature set aside $5 million for emergency flood mitigation during the 2023 General Legislative Session, the Office of the Governor said “those funds are already depleted.” This has led the governor to declare a state of emergency to use outside resources, including funds set aside in the State Disaster Recovery Restricted Account.
The Executive Order also reads that the designation “authorizes the governor to utilize all available resources of state government as reasonably necessary to cope with a state of emergency.”
“We’re incredibly grateful for the moisture we’ve received this winter, but the extra rain and hefty snowpack present increasing flood risks as the snow melts. By declaring a state of emergency,” Cox said, “we’ll be better prepared for what lies ahead this spring.”
The Utah Division of Emergency Management and the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands have provided resources and services “to help communities prepare for flooding,” the release said, such as sandbags.
An important part of the flooding mitigation efforts has come in the form of sandbags, for which Utah has already spent over $1 million over the last 11 days.
Here are some tips Salt Lake County officials have previously listed to help prepare for flooding:
- Clear debris from drains, roadway gutters, and stream banks.
- Get sandbags early to protect your property. Here’s a list of locations in Salt Lake County residents can go to fill up sandbags.
- Monitor weather and focus on flooding alerts.
- Monitor streamflow using local stream gauges to help determine the likelihood of flooding in your area.
Residents can also check whether their neighborhood is located in a flood-prone area on the Salt Lake County flood preparedness website or the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.