OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Ogden River kept from flooding through controlled releases, good weather

Apr 29, 2024, 3:00 PM

the ogden river is shown, controlled releases prevented ogden river flooding this weekend...

The fall colors reflect in the Ogden River in Ogden on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

OGDEN, Utah — A small flooding scare for the Ogden River in Weber County turned out to be nothing to worry about.

The National Weather Service said last week that flood risk is “relatively low” for Utah’s rivers and streams. On Monday afternoon, the NWS’ flood forecast showed no flooding issues in rivers across the state.

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office warned about the high water levels over the weekend. It later updated, and said that while the South Fork portion of the Ogden River was high, it didn’t reach flood stages.

One hydrologist said timed releases from reservoirs help rivers avoid flooding levels.

The importance of controlled water release

These releases allow water officials to control the water levels in the reservoir and downstream rivers.

Releases happen year-round but are extremely important during spring runoff when the possibility of flooding grows exponentially.

Related: 100 high-hazard dams remain a risk across Utah, assistant state engineer says

National Weather Service Hydrologist Glen Merrill said reservoirs are a huge benefit to control the potential of flooding. Merrill said the people in charge of releases have a lot of factors to consider.

Including “when to release water ahead of water coming into the reservoir, to mitigate both the levels of the reservoirs and the downstream impacts from releases,” Merrill said.

These releases have been going on for months, to mitigate flood risks for the near future.

The weather helped, too

Merrill said weather patterns also play a key part in the minimal flood risks.

“We’ve seen the weather really play a positive role during our warm periods, bringing down certain elevations one at a time, certain aspects one at a time.”

Merrill said the snow has melted as efficiently as possible and is coming down layer by layer.

There’s still danger around bodies of water

However, just because the water isn’t at flood levels doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous, Merrill said.

Related: Spring runoff causes fast-moving rivers, officials urge caution

“The water in these creeks and rivers is flowing extremely fast and very high and that can pose a significant danger, especially to young children and pets.”

Merrill said it’s also extremely cold and just a few minutes in these streams could lead to hypothermia. So remember to remain careful around moving water this spring, especially with pets and children.

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Ogden River kept from flooding through controlled releases, good weather