Streams were high, but they did not flood
May 27, 2008
Rivers crested but did not jump their banks when snow melted quickly last week.
"It’s high but it’s not near flood stage yet," said Mark Offret, a superintendent with Summit County Public Works. "That’s when it comes out of the banks in the low-lying areas."
A major concern was the Provo River near Woodland, he explained.
"Nobody’s panicking yet," Summit County Public Works Director Kevin Callahan said.
The river almost touched a bridge at Gines Lane but did not flood State Road 35, Public Works Road Superintendent Tim Richins said about the river east of Francis.
"It was still probably three feet below the bottom of two bridges that go into Wasatch County," Richins said.
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The streams reached their highest levels so far May 21 when the temperature jumped to about 20 degrees above normal.
McLeod Creek in Park City moved at nearly 100 cubic feet per second that day, said Brian McInerney, a National Weather Service hydrologist who lives in the Snyderville Basin.
"Now it’s down to 24 cfs," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We had a flood watch out and then we increased it to a flood warning."
The water level dropped when temperatures fell to nearly 10 degrees below normal, McInerney said.
But streams could peak again at 75 cfs June 3, he said.
"It’s going to get warmer and the river is slowly going to get higher," McInerney said. "We still have enough snow in the mountains to fuel high stream flows, but the temperatures won’t get as high as they were before."
Homeowners in Samak got concerned when Beaver Creek rose near Kamas.
"Most of those houses through Samak are really close to Beaver Creek," Richins said. "I don’t know whether they were actually getting flooded or were just getting nervous."
Last week, sandbags stopped the creek from flooding homes downtown, said Kamas City Councilman Kevan Todd, who lives near the stream.
"We sandbagged basically from the [South Summit Aquatic and Fitness Center] down to 200 East," Todd said. "It has dropped probably two feet. But you could see the water had hit the sandbags."
Kamas will need more sandbags as temperatures increase, he said.
"There were a couple houses that could have been in trouble There were a couple isolated incidents where debris plugged up the culverts," Todd said. "The bad thing is it kept snowing up high. If it gets extremely warm like they’re forecasting, we’re not done."
Sandbags and a machine to fill them are available at the rodeo grounds in Kamas, he explained.
Meanwhile, the biggest concern in Coalville is whether Chalk Creek will flood.
"We feel like we’re on top of the thing but we are going to treat it with the due respect that it deserves," Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt said.
Chalk Creek flooded in the early 1980s when debris became lodged near culverts and bridges, he said.
"A lot of changes have taken place in the city since the last time we had a flood here," Schmidt said. "They fixed that problem."
With the snow disappearing, the biggest threat now is rain, said Butch Swenson, who organizes emergency planning for Summit County.
"If it all comes in the way of rain all at once, that could really be a problem," Swenson said.
Ditches in the Snyderville Basin have not flooded and no significant property damage was reported when Poison Creek recently overflowed, Swenson said.
"And I don’t know of anybody who had to leave their home," he added.
Contact Summit County Public Works at 615-3970 to learn where to pick up sandbags.