ENVIRONMENT

Utah Flooding: How to prevent and mitigate the risk

Mar 21, 2023, 9:30 AM | Updated: 9:53 am

Utah Flooding...

Washington County search and rescue work to help a family that became stranded due to flash flooding in Johnson Canyon on Wednesday, March 16, 2023. (Washington County Sheriff's Office)

(Washington County Sheriff's Office)

SALT LAKE CITY — With snow continuing to pile up across the state, flooding is becoming a concern for Utah residents this year.

Emergency preparedness officials warn about flood risks and advise residents in high-risk areas to take preventative measures to mitigate potential damage to their properties.

Wade Mathews, from the Utah Division of Emergency Management, told KSL at night.  He recommended residents work with local public works or emergency management to clean stream beds, ditches, canals, and waterways. Mathews said this will allow “water to flow freely and not start rising over the banks.”

Those living in areas that are prone to flooding or below a burn scar, are advised to sandbag their homes and directing water away from their foundation.

“Review your family disaster plans, disaster supply kits, and communicate meeting places for your family outside of your home or outside of the neighborhood if it has to be evacuated” said Mathews.

Additionally, he recommended that residents review protective actions for flooding, including the phrase, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown, and Go To Higher Ground.”

Mathews also said, “if you’re traveling and you’re approaching a fast moving river or stream don’t try to cross it either on foot or in a car. It can float a car or can knock you off your feet, and next thing you know you’re trying to be rescued.”

As Utah expects more snow to the mountains and higher elevation valley areas, the flood risk will continue to increase.

Mathews emphasized the importance of getting flood insurance. He said, “One of the very first things people should consider if they have the means is getting flood insurance because homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. And it takes 30 days for a new policy to go into effect.”

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Utah Flooding: How to prevent and mitigate the risk