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Salt Lake County, City leaders warn to stay away from dangerous flooding

Posted at 11:43 AM, Jun 01, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall are pushing safety when recreating outdoors as flood season continues to make for dangerous conditions.

Streams and rivers continue to flow at high levels and detention ponds are full as snow from a record-breaking winter melts and cascades into the valley.

"Our streams are running at incredibly high levels," Wilson said. "That's not news to anyone. Our detention ponds are often ebbing and flowing on purpose, and we're just really wanted to emphasize safety for your family, for your pets."

READ: Sandy issues state of emergency ahead of potential flooding

Mendenhall seconded that message, emphasizing that pets should be on leashes when around the water.

"There are more households in Salt Lake City with dogs than with children," she explained. "We love our foothills, and we love those off-leash areas that exist in the city where your dog can water, but it is not safe right now to do so. Really, no matter how much you think your dog can come to you when you call them, those waters are swift and powerful and it is absolutely not worth the risk of losing your pet."

Both leaders said crews are working around the clock to mitigate flooding.

"The teams are in touch with the weather service monitoring what is really good weather," Wilson reported. "We've seen temperatures rise and fall but no real peak temperatures for multiple days and that's good news. So, we're optimistic."

READ: Utah lawmakers to spend $40 million on flood relief

Teams are focusing on debris blockage as blocked-up drains can cause big flooding problems.

"I think that's the one concern that we'll see through July even is just making sure that we don't see any areas where trees or other types of shrubbery end up blocking and creating a challenge," Wilson continued.

However, Mendenhall added that crews have been able to handle debris so far that could have potentially led to consequences.

"There have been pallets, trees, boulders, a lot of branches that come down that could have led to flooding circumstances," Mendenhall said. "But the crews that are working around the clock have been able to quickly manage that and prevent any frightening circumstances from happening. So it's working well, and the system was designed to handle this and we are succeeding."

As far as what's coming, Mendenhall and Wilson said they're staying vigilant and more concerned about safety of residents over any property damage.

"We're glad there haven't been any other tragedies involving people," Mendenhall said. "But I think it's pretty obvious that these waters that are running so swiftly and at high volumes, they can take, not just dogs, they can take individuals, [and] children."