Warmer temperatures bring added concern over flooding

May 1, 2023, 9:30 PM

The American Red Cross is working right now to help Logan residents after a trailer park flooded. ...

The American Red Cross is working right now to help Logan residents after a trailer park flooded. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — With the increase in warmer temperatures, the concern for flooding around the state is on the rise. 

Jim Nelson, a civil engineering professor at Brigham Young University, joined Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on Monday to discuss the situation.

Caplan asked, “A lot of Utahns are worried about flooding at this moment. So, what’s the first thing you would tell them?”

“I would tell them that we are in a lot better situation than the 80s,” he said. “Having experienced that and made preparations for, and we have a lot better information, understand where things are going.”

Warmer temperatures could create more flooding

However, he cautions that the state is far from being out of danger.

“There’s a lot of snow up there,” Nelson said. “We need a favorable forecast, and we need good conditions to get it all down where we can use it.”

Caplan asked, “Can you tell us what good conditions would mean?”

“I think that not warming too quickly, not having rain or additional moisture,” Nelson said. “Those are the conditions that we need.”

“So, are we in a difficult or dire situation at any locations here in northern Utah?” Caplan asked.

“I do think there’s going to be some localized flooding in places where the system is stressed,” Nelson said. “And for those people, it’s really devastating. But I think widespread-wise, we’re not in a dire situation, at least under the current conditions.”

Caplan then asks, “How soon will we be able to say, ‘Wow, we really dodged a bullet this year?'”

“It will vary depending on the community,” Nelson said. “The watershed that you live in and where the water is coming from or what kind of control and storage reservoir management is above you. So, it’s a little different for everybody.”

Listen to the entire segment.


Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News can be heard on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

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Warmer temperatures bring added concern over flooding