What we can learn from the 2011 severe flooding in Weber County

Apr 14, 2023, 9:00 PM

While people prepare sandbags for all that runoff, Utah water officials are still calling for peopl...

Volunteers fill sandbags at EK Bailey Construction in Ogden (Weber County Sheriff Facebook.)

(Weber County Sheriff Facebook.)

WEBER COUNTY, Utah — When someone thinks of severe flooding in Utah, chances are they’ll picture the severe flooding in 1983 in Salt Lake City. Many people may not remember that Weber County also had to deal with severe flooding in 2011.

Former Weber County Commissioner Carry Gibson was there in 2011, helping to mitigate the flooding. He joins Inside Sources hosted by Taylor Morgan and Derek Brown with insight from his experience into what Utahns should be watching for as they prepare for more flooding.

Gibson says there is much to learn from the 2011 severe flooding in Weber County.

“Oftentimes we respond to a crisis, right? And so we, we go get the sandbags … we buckle up and that’s part of it. We need to do that,” he says to Morgan and Brown. “But, we also need to plan ahead and be proactive in the process.”

He recalls his grandfather, a farmer, telling him of stories from previous flood years.

“One particular time they actually … started digging a massive trench on a little parcel,” Gibson says. “They called [it] The Little Weeber Drainage. They were digging this massive trench as a way of relieving the riverbanks so that it didn’t break in the areas that they didn’t want it to go to, knowing that this was one way that it could make its way out to the Great Salt Lake.”

2011 severe flooding taught us to be prepared

From this, Gibson learned that it’s important to prepare for things like floods before they happen.

“That’s one of the things we learned in 2011,” he says. “We made the commitment. Hey, next time we’re gonna be more ready and we’re gonna have more tools at our disposal.”

He continues saying Weber County spent the years beyond 2011 preparing for future possible floods.

“We’re having a crisis right now. There’s no doubt about it,” Gibson says. “At least in our area, we have a lot more tools at our disposal to deal with those challenges because of some of the preemptive work that was done.”

Along with Weber County, he says Utah as a whole is more prepared for floods compared to 1983 and 2011.

“We are more prepared. We have better data at our disposal,” he says. “So, as that technology continues to increase, we can be more prepared because we can see ahead a little bit better.”

Listen to the full segment.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard on weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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What we can learn from the 2011 severe flooding in Weber County