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Floods prompt Gov. Spencer Cox to declare state of emergency

Paul Huish
A Park City firefighter delivers sandbags to a home on Angus Court in Ranch Place.

Summit and Wasatch Counties have both seen flooding over the past week, not to mention other problems like mudslides.

The governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon.

It comes on the heels of flooding and mudslides locally, as well as around Utah. A sinkhole opened up in a street in Kaysville last week, Sugarhouse channeled a river down 1700 South and areas in southern Utah have seen flooding since March.

A state of emergency unlocks the State Disaster Recovery Restricted Account to fund flood prevention and relief. It also lets Utah request aid from the federal or other state governments.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the moisture we’ve received this winter, but the extra rain and hefty snowpack present increasing flood risks as the snow melts,” Gov. Cox said in a statement. “By declaring a state of emergency, the state will be better able to tap into reserve funds to support flood response and mitigation efforts. In short, we’ll be better prepared for what lies ahead this spring.”

During this year’s state legislative session, lawmakers appropriated $5 million for flood response, but that money’s already gone.

So far, the Utah Division of Emergency Management has activated the State Emergency Response Team and distributed more than 1 million sandbags.

The state says Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands personnel are available to assist local governments and volunteers with filling sandbags, removing debris and operating heavy equipment.

As of Monday, Summit County estimated it had distributed 66,000 sandbags this year, with 40,000 more on the way.

This state of emergency will remain in effect for the next 30 days, until May 18, but the state legislature could extend it.

  • Click here to find sandbagging stations in Summit County.
  • Wasatch County has a sandbagging station in Heber City at its public works building at 1891 W. 3000 S.
  • Click here for the Utah Snow Survey. Click “Interactive Map!” to view data on snow water equivalent, snowfall, soil moisture, reservoir levels and other flood factors.
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