D2: Could next weekend be the peak runoff for flooding in Utah?

May 22, 2023, 9:00 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2023, 4:47 pm

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 — Last week, KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic predicted that Memorial Day weekend would be peak runoff for creeks and rivers in places like Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.

Dave Noriega asked, “Are you as surprised as me that it hasn’t been worse?” 

Debbie Dujanovic responded, “I’m on your team on that one.”

Both acknowledge, however, that not everyone around the state has been as fortunate.

In the wake of the warmer temperatures over the weekend, Scott Baird, director of public works for Salt Lake County joined Dave & Dujanovic on Monday to provide an update on where things stand.

Memorial Day peak runoff

Dujanovic started off the conversation by asking, “Is Memorial Day weekend still the time frame for peak runoff?”

“It’s temperature driven,” Baird said. “And the temperatures we’ve seen in the last week for us are ideal.”

He says creeks are starting to rise, but not to the level that it will cause flooding. 

Baird says temperatures should be in the lower 80s for much of the week.

“And we are just extremely grateful,” he said. “Because there is certainly potential in snow up in the mountains still to cause big problems. But we’re not seeing the temperatures to trigger that.”

Dujanovic references Big Cottonwood Canyon and a video she saw last week of the river flowing like crazy, and sandbags stacked deep. 

She asked, “What are you looking at for that?”

Baird says there have been hundreds of thousands, if not a million sandbags deployed to those areas.

“And I would say this, we’re preparing for the worst,” Baird said. “And hoping for the best.”

Watching waterways

“If you had to pinpoint a couple of waterways that you were really going to be focused on, walking us up to Memorial Day,” Dujanovic said. “What would those two or three be?”

Baird says his crews will be watching City Creek and Mill Creek along with the big flows out of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.

However, he cautions that problems could come on any body of water.

“We can have problems on any waterway,” he said. “If we have debris problems.”

Listen to the entire segment.


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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D2: Could next weekend be the peak runoff for flooding in Utah?