UTAH DROUGHT

Ballpark residents hear from county officials on potential flooding

Apr 7, 2023, 10:29 AM | Updated: Jan 5, 2024, 12:58 pm

salt lake bees fans come back to smiths ballpark...

FILE: Overhead look at Smith's Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City announced the three winners in its Ballpark Next competition, including a design called 'She Plays Here.' (KSL-TV, Chopper 5. )

(KSL-TV, Chopper 5. )

SALT LAKE CITY —  Flooding was a hot topic Thursday night for residents of the Ballpark neighborhood, where residents heard from Salt Lake City public utilities and flood officials.

Officials assured concerned neighbors that major flooding is not expected in the surrounding communities with expected spring run-off.

Flooding forecast

“We’re seeing more of a gradual warming, which is really good,” said Laura Briefer, director of the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities. “That will help melt some of the mid-to-lower elevations first, leaving the higher-elevation snow for later. So, that would create more of a measured run-off, which is what we want,” said Briefer.

Additionally, she said Utah Lake has some room to absorb some of that run-off. Which can help alleviate some of the flow. Both major Utah lakes have struggled during extreme drought conditions.

“Utah Lake, which is upstream from us, and drains into the Jordan River, is pretty low and isn’t expected to hit what’s called ‘compromise’ which means we don’t anticipate a lot of effects of that run-off coming into the Jordan River,” according to Briefer.

Kade Moncur, Salt Lake County Director for Flooding Control and Engineering, explained that snow melt and rainstorm flooding aren’t the same. He believes the neighborhood and surrounding communities are equipped to handle expected run-off as the weather warms up.

Being prepared

“What flood control can do to get ahead of the game is really clear debris, preemptively before spring run-off, and that is something that flood control is doing, right now as we speak,” said Moncur. “We’re clearing all the creeks that we have jurisdiction over as best we can with the resources we have, and we’re working down through the system.”

Briefer and Moncur agree that flooding can happen, especially if there is a particularly rainy spring. They said residents should be prepared and urged them to stock up on sandbags in order to prevent any further damage. Especially those with basements.

Moncur said Salt Lake County will be working closely with the National Weather Service as spring turns to summer.

“Into May and June, when we really start peaking, we’ll start working closely with the National Weather Service and we’ll start to put out more warnings, and more public notices will start coming out of that system, from the counties to the cities, then down from there,” said Moncur.

For help getting sandbags or with general flooding concerns check slc.gov/utilities/stormwater-and-flood-control/.

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Ballpark residents hear from county officials on potential flooding