National Weather Service issues flood warning for Emigration Creek

May 1, 2023, 5:59 AM | Updated: 6:00 am

Ruth's Diner in Emigration Canyon has begun to experience some flooding, however, they remain open ...

Sandbags are set up on the side of Emigration Creek due to flooding concerns in Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 14, 2023. Next weekend could be the peak flow of runoff for flooding in Utah. Scott Baird, of Salt Lake County Public Works, told Dave & Dujanovic that it is temperature driven and so far they like the temperatures they are seeing. (Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

(Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Residents in Emigration Canyon sprang into action Sunday as Emigration Creek jumped its bed in several areas threatening to flood homes.

“We’ve seen it just go up and up and up and up,” said Tim Erickson, a resident in Emigration Canyon.

Emigration Creek hit flood stage at approximately 7 pm, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning through Thursday.

“We’re totally nervous. We’re just sitting there staring at it,” Erickson said.

Erickson’s property is one of dozens in the canyon lined with sandbags. His next-door neighbor has a wall of sandbags blocking his driveway and keeping the creek, which has outgrown its bed, from entering his home.

“It’s up over the top of our culvert, which is usually only 6 inches deep in water normally, and were up over it,” Erickson said.

One of the biggest issues in the canyon is keeping ditches clear of debris. Crews moved up and down the canyon using excavators to pull logs and branches out of the water.

“We’ve had multiple culverts plug and are eroding driveways, in some cases eroding the road in some places,” said Joe Smolka, Mayor of Emigration Canyon Metro Township.


Smolka spent the day checking on residents, filling sandbags, and ensuring ditches were cleared. He said over 20,000 sandbags protect the most vulnerable homes in the canyon – and yet it’s still not enough.

“We need people to fill sandbags,” the mayor said. “I’m anticipating in the next three days we’re going to have very high flows.”

There are several sandbag stations throughout the canyon where volunteers spent time at. By the evening, most of the piles were running low.

“We’ll evaluate tonight. We have enough for tonight or couldn’t get it here in time for tonight,” Smolka said.

While crews continue to dig debris out of the creek and away from ditches, Erickson said he and his neighbors would remain on high alert, especially with the record heat.

“The last couple of days, it’s heated up, and with that, it becomes browner and higher.”

He said he is thankful for everyone jumping into action.

“We have neighbors who care, community members who care. It’s been stunningly awesome.”

Related reading: Warmup across Utah: Here’s where to get sandbags to help mitigate possible flooding


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National Weather Service issues flood warning for Emigration Creek