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Utah prepares for another round of flooding from record-breaking snow

Posted at 1:41 PM, Apr 14, 2023

PROVO, Utah — State leaders urged Utahns to take advantage of the break with hot temperatures to prepare for more flooding.

"We’ve got a lot of water up in those mountains that’s going to come down. We have to prepare," Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson said at a news conference on Friday in Provo.

Henderson and members of her staff helped Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and volunteers fill sandbags to get ready for flooding. The mayor said the city is monitoring its canyons and the Provo River, but expected flooding at some point.

"It’s the Mother Nature piece. She comes on really hot and strong for a few days, that’s when we need to get ready to go," Mayor Kaufusi said.

The risk for flooding is across all of Utah. Some communities, including Salt Lake City, Kaysville and Ogden have already started to experience some flooding. But others are being warned to prepare for it based on the record-breaking snow still in the mountains. State leaders urged people to check if they live in a flood zone, get flood insurance and get sandbags if they're at risk.

"Start now. Don’t wait until it starts getting 80 degrees and we see something," warned Rep. Tyler Clancy, R-Provo.

Lt. Gov. Henderson said she believed communities were starting to get ready. Many have made significant infrastructure changes as a result of Utah's historic flooding in 1983 and 1984.

"It’s not unprecedented. We’ve had a lot of flooding in the past and we’re prepared for it, hopefully," she told FOX 13 News on Friday.

Last year, Governor Spencer Cox asked the Utah State Legislature to fund $5 million for flood preparation. That was just in case we had good snowpack. Six months later, Utah has a record amount of snow in the mountains and the state has already spent the $5 million. The governor's office has been in discussions with legislative leadership about dipping into emergency funds to help communities.

"Legislative leadership has given an explicit indication that they are going to be able to appropriate more money for flood mitigation," Lt. Gov. Henderson said.

Cities and counties across Utah were asking for volunteers to help fill sandbags before flooding picks up again. Mayor Kaufusi set a goal for Provo to have 100,000 sandbags ready by May 1. She said that is partly to help surrounding communities that may not have the same resources as her community.

"I’ll tell you what: if you were to come down here say we want to help? You’re not going to get turned away," the mayor said.