WIRTH WATCHING: The 38th year anniversary of the great flood


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It’s been 38 years since a great flood wreaked havoc on State Street in Salt Lake City.

On May 30, ABC4’s very own Craig Wirth recalls one of those few events where everyone who was present in 1983 remembers exactly where they were when the State Street River started flowing.

“Churches cancelled services… stores closed… people gathered together shoulder to shoulder and put out a million sandbags overnight,” Wirth tells ABC4.

According to Wirth, the new river also made headlines around the country.

“People talk about the flood of 1983 pretty much every spring when the snow melts. You see we had record amounts of snow in the winter of 1982-83…Try 700 inches at Parleys’ Summit, verses a norm of about 300 inches,” Wirth shares. “And a really cold May – that is until the last week of May when it hit 90 degrees.”

Wirth says at first many thought the snowmelt would hold up in Parleys’ Canyon, but boy were they wrong.

“When the water came, manholes became geysers! It came down 13 south and out of Parleys Canyon. It gushed through Memory Grove tearing out a new channel. Things didn’t look too good and people had about a day to save the town,” he adds.

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