WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — Weber County officials are warning residents, especially those along the lower Weber River, that flooding is possible at the end of next week as a result of this week’s warm spring weather.
Cory and Kristen Barker live along the Weber River in Uinta. The Barkers allowed ABC4 to take a look at their backyard. The high-running river has eaten away at the boulders, sandbags, and other materials that make up the bank. Silt has spilled into the lawn and two ponds have formed at the east and west ends of the lawn.
The Barkers have had many sleepless nights as the river’s water levels have risen and fallen over the last few weeks. Hundreds of sandbags line the northern part of their backyard creating a barrier between the lawn and home. They are doing what they can to prepare for the worst.
This is the reality for many in the Barker’s neighborhood. It’s the reality for many who live along the Weber River.
“It’s just a big forecasting (task),” Jon Parry from Weber Basin Water Conservancy District explained. “We’re looking at it daily, multiple times a day.”
The Weber River is running high today, April 27, as Weber Basin Water Conservancy District releases water from nearby reservoirs in preparation for increased runoff next week. When the runoff increases, the Water District will be able to reduce the volume of water it is releasing from those reservoirs. The goal is to prevent reservoirs from overfilling, while also trying to keep river water levels under flood levels. It is no easy task.
“We live in a beautiful area. Right? And 95% of the time we don’t have issues and things are wonderful, but that 5% we’re going to have some issues and we just need to understand that with the good comes some bad,” Weber County Emergency Manager Lisa Schwartz Gosline stated.
She told ABC4 that by the second half of next week, the Weber River west of the mouth of Weber Canyon could potentially see water levels at or above flooding levels, and it’s more likely to happen in areas west of 1900 W.
“If they have concerns about the area they live in, if they’ve had flooding before, if they live in the flood plain, (they need) to make sure that they get their sandbags out, get them filled and put them around those areas of concern, whether it’s a lower elevation door or their window wells, make sure they get that done,” emphasized Schwartz Gosline.
She said anyone who is worried about flooding, regardless of where they live within the county, should move their possessions from the basement and lower levels of the home to higher floors.
While residents are encouraged to do what they can to protect their property, officials are keeping a close eye on the river.
“We’ve got flows in these areas just outside of the mouth of the canyon so we’re monitoring all of those to make sure we’re aware of how water is flowing,” added Parry. “We have a lot of drone flights that are going to be going on,” Schwartz Gosline stated. “Particularly tomorrow, just checking the areas and seeing how things are going.”
Schwartz Gosline also encouraged residents to use the CodeRED Alert app as it allows officials to notify the public when there is an emergency. This app is important in case of evacuations due to flooding, however, it will also be useful to residents in the future for other emergencies.
According to Schwartz Gosline, the county has placed more than 65,000 sandbags across the county. Street crews have access to filled sandbags so that they can quickly divert flood water they come across before it turns into a larger issue. Residents can also volunteer to fill bags.
Schwartz Gosline also asked that people have patience when it comes to potholes. Crews were working around the clock to keep up with record-breaking winter weather and immediately turned around to deal with flooding. Potholes will be filled as soon as possible.