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Emergency officials ‘optimistic’ about Summit County flood forecast

Summit County residents prepare for potential flooding as temperatures rise, melting the snow from a record-breaking 2022-2023 winter.
Mitchell Elliot
Summit County stacked sandbags for residents to pickup last year, after the 2022-2023 winter dumped a historic snowpack on the Wasatch Back. This year, flooding looks less likely, but sandbags are still available on request.

Summit County is about halfway through flood season, and so far, no significant flooding.

The Wasatch Back has seen sporadic warm-ups this spring, punctuated by colder weather and more rain and snow.

Summit County Emergency Manager Kathryn McMullin said that stair-step pattern is the best-case scenario.

“So that's actually been going pretty well for us,” she said. “Even though we've continued to get additional rain, we need the rain … our systems are handling it very well.”

There hasn’t been any flooding, she said. But her department is monitoring reservoir levels.

“Last year, our reservoirs were very low, so they could take a lot of runoff water. However, this year, our reservoirs are about 85% full,” McMullin said. “So we want to be continually monitoring, be extra alert, to make sure that they can handle the runoff that they're receiving.”

After the historic 2022-2023 snow year, the county set up sandbagging locations and sent weekly situation reports so local municipalities could stay on top of the flooding.

This year, that hasn’t been necessary. But McMullin said sandbags are still available for residents who want to err on the side of caution.

“These big sand bagging machines that we purchased last year, those are ready to go,” she said. “We have sandbags available.” 

She recommends residents call the city first for sandbags, and anyone in unincorporated Summit County can call county public works to pick up their free sandbags.

McMullin said Summit County’s final recorded flood incident last year was in June. This year, Utah still has about 16 inches of water to melt off.

Summitcounty.org/flooding is the one-stop-shop for information on flood preparedness.