Is it too soon to prepare for flooding? Sandbags being prepared

Mar 29, 2023, 8:30 PM | Updated: Apr 7, 2023, 5:03 pm

Phil Conder prepares sand bags in Midvale, Utah, on March 17, 2023. Utahns are preparing for possib...

Phil Conder prepares sand bags in Midvale, Utah, on March 17, 2023. Utahns are preparing for possible flooding following a large snowpack that formed over the winter. (Alejandro Lucero, KSL NewsRadio)

(Alejandro Lucero, KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — In preparing for potential flooding later this spring, Salt Lake County crews have begun to distribute thousands of sandbags. Salt Lake County officials are expecting the demand for sandbags to increase over the coming days and weeks.

Clint Mecham, emergency management director for Salt Lake County, joined Dave & Dujanovic with hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic on Wednesday to discuss the potential flooding situation.

Noreiga asked, “So why are you packing sandbags? It feels so early.”

“It is early,” Mecham said. 

Mecham says the Salt Lake County flood control and engineering crews, like they are every year, have been out since early March getting ready for spring runoff.

“We always try and lean forward and anticipate to the best extent that we can,” he said.  “The needs we might have if we have to step from being from going into mitigation and prevention into actual response.”

As a result of this year’s snowpack, Mecham says the sandbags are a preventative measure.

“But if we do need them, we have them,” he said.

Dujanovic asked, “So, give us the hot spots you’re watching for potential flooding?”

Mecham says he is concerned with a lot of the creeks, including Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, Mill Creek Canyon, Parleys Creek, City Creek, and Red Butte Creek. 

Flooding and sandbags

Noriega asked, “So how do the sandbags work? How will they be deployed?”

“So, they would be used to augment the banks of the creek. Where we start to see overbank events or water getting out of the creeks,” Mecham said. 

Dujanovic asks if he is afraid of reliving 1983 all over again.

“Not so much,” Mecham said. “And the reason I say that is because there’s been a lot of improvements to infrastructure, increase in the size of the culverts to handle those kinds of water.”

He also says flooding down State Street in 1983 was part of a plan to get water to the Jordan River and eventually out to the Great Salt Lake.

Mecham says with all the work being done year-round, he doesn’t expect to relive a 1983 situation.

“I’m not as concerned about seeing an 83-type event right now,” he said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Is it too soon to prepare for flooding? Sandbags being prepared