Family warns others after snowmelt floods Heber home
A waterfall suddenly formed on the hill behind a home in Heber Tuesday, causing thousands of dollars in damage. A quick response by the family and neighbors made a big difference.
It’s happening. As emergency officials warned, warm spring temperatures have begun to melt the Wasatch Back’s record-deep snowpack and cause floods.
In northern Heber City, on a steep hill above Coyote Lane, Jennifer Scroggins’ home on Cove Spring Way became one of the first casualties Tuesday afternoon.
“We started hearing water coming from multiple areas down the backyard at the rate of a fire hose,” she said. “[It came] through the windows in the basement. The water was coming in so quickly — about a foot in every room downstairs.”
She and her husband Wade moved into the neighborhood of new homes last July. She worried the flood damage could cost more than $100,000.
“All the sheetrock on the downstairs level is going to need to be cut — they think maybe up to the baseboards and it can be hidden by new baseboards,” Scroggins said Wednesday. “But we're just not going to know yet. If we can stop it today and the next four days, then it'll have time to dry out.”
She believed if she and Wade had acted five minutes later, they would have failed to prevent the water breaching their upstairs walls, too.
Soon after the water started pouring in, their son and dozens of good Samaritans helped move out valuables.
“Our neighbors came together,” Scroggins said. “We had probably 30, 40 people here helping save the furniture, bringing sandbags and taking videos and building trenches.”
She said that help was crucial. She’s on crutches this week after suffering a ski injury Monday.
Besides neighbors, she thanked Wright Moving, Midway Construction and Hess Construction companies for sending people to help save their belongings.
After the water came in full force Tuesday around 4 p.m., it slowed to a trickle overnight as the air cooled and less snowmelt flowed down their backyard hill.
The Timpanogos Canal is above the Scroggins’ house, but it didn’t overflow. Heber City Police Sergeant Josh Weishar told KPCW most of the water in their basement came from snow higher on the hillside that seeped underneath the concrete channel. Weishar also said as many as three other homes were affected.
Video footage the Scroggins captured Tuesday shows water standing in a pool next to the canal on the same side as the flooded homes. It formed a channel that streamed into the Scroggins’ backyard.
Scroggins said the landscaping at the home included trenches intended to mitigate flooding, and a snow removal service regularly cleared snow off the section of the hill included in their property.
Wednesday, the husband and son built a wall of sandbags while machines pumped water out of the basement. They planned to monitor flows and divert the water that cascades into the backyard however possible this week.
As the snow continues to melt, Scroggins urged anyone who may be in a floodplain not to underestimate the risk and to take any precautions possible.
“If this does happen to others, the fastest you can get someone out there, the better because they did tell us that we are likely to be able to save the carpet, which saves the money in the overall mess,” she said.
As snow thaws, many other areas across Utah are also dealing with floods.
More information on flood risk in the Wasatch Back; including hazard maps, sandbag centers, mitigation tips and insurance information; is available here.