The Wasatch Mountains are known for “The Greatest Snow on Earth” but after years of drought, Salt Lake residents were starting to wonder if that title was at risk. Thankfully, Mother Nature delivered a healthy dose of reassurance this year.
Snow totals have surpassed previous records and snow-enthusiasts are thrilled. Many ski resorts have reported their highest totals of all time. However, this snowy winter reminds longtime Salt Lakers of the widespread floods after a similar season in 1983. There was a sudden surge in the spring runoff when temperatures soared on Memorial Day weekend that year. Streams swelled and State Street was transformed into a canal for a few weeks until the water subsided. The silver lining of the ‘83 floods was that it prompted the community to take action to enhance the area’s infrastructure–significant upgrades were made to aqueducts, creek beds were widened, and storm drains were replaced.
Protect Your Property
Tony Bickmore, with Bickmore Construction, recently reached out to Niche Homes with a friendly reminder to “protect window wells, driveways, and other high risk areas of your home.” We’re encouraging you to do the same. There’s no telling if a similar spike in temperatures will happen again this year but we always advocate in favor of being prepared.
Pedestrians cross a temporary bridge on 1300 South during the 1983 floods
Sandbags line State Street in downtown Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County’s website provides a Flood Preparedness Manual with information about how to reduce the impact of flooding to homes and businesses. They also offer sandbags at their Operations Division Office.
Here are five simple tasks to add to your to-do list this month that will mitigate the risk of damage to your home in the event of flooding:
- Know your risk. Be aware of your proximity to rivers, streams, and other waterways. According to Salt Lake County Public Works, the months with the highest risk for flooding are May and June.
- Make sure your drains and gutters are clear of debris so that water can flow freely.
- Have basic materials on hand in case it becomes necessary to board up windows and doors (sandbags, low grade plywood).
- Protect important documents by storing them in a watertight container or off-site in a safe place.
- Review your emergency preparedness plan and supplies with family members and neighbors.
Source: Salt Lake County Public Works