Please pay attention to the information I am sharing here. Currently the snowpack for our area is 274 percent of normal. With the significant amount of rainfall we have been receiving combined with anticipated warming temperatures, I would like our citizens to understand the high opportunity for flooding along our waterways. For that reason, I would like everyone to understand what we have experienced so far and what we can do to prepare for additional flooding.
Early morning on Friday, May 17, our Public Works Department responded to flooding from the Dry Creek and Waste Ditch by Lehi Elementary School. Despite our best efforts to keep the channels clear of debris and track the rising water levels, the high temperatures of the previous two days follow by a rain storm caused a large amount of debris to come down the creek.
Temperatures will rise dramatically in the next few weeks and the snow runoff will rush down the mountain, likely exceeding capacity of the Waste Ditch and Dry Creek. There are several things that we can do, both as a city and community, to prepare.
First, the Public Works Department has sand and bags available now at their campus for homeowners who may be at risk of flooding. Residents are encouraged to call 385-201-1700, coordinate a pickup, and plan to fill and place sandbags along the potential flood zone. We will stockpile sand and bags for emergency purposes at the Power Department and Fleet Building near the rodeo grounds to avoid road closure delays associated with the I-15 construction project.
The biggest cause of flooding is the debris that blocks gates and storm drains. Public Works actively monitors and cleans water channels to avoid any issues. Residents can help by keeping channels clear of garbage and debris. Yard waste, tree clippings, and other waste should never be placed in the Dry Creek or Waste Ditch. Clean your gutters and the storm drains in front of your homes to allow rain water to properly drain.
As temperatures warm, residents may be tempted to swim in or tube down the creek. It may seem like a harmless activity, but it can be extremely dangerous. The currents move fast and if you get trapped in a culvert or against a gate, it can be impossible to get out. Keep your animals and children away from the creek and avoid flood water.
Volunteerism is what makes our community thrive. If volunteers are needed to help prepare sandbags or clean up debris, efforts will be coordinated through our Emergency Manager. Volunteers must be 12 years or older, wear close-toed shoes, and bring their own shovels and gloves. Information will be made available through our social media sites and our emergency alert system. Sign up for alerts at alerts.utahcounty.gov.
As a city, we continue to make improvements to our infrastructure and emergency planning process to prevent future damage from flooding. The amount of moisture that we have received in the last year is remarkable and flooding may be unavoidable. Thank you for your cooperation and support as we prepare for its potential impact.
Mayor Mark Johnson