Utah, along with the western United States as a whole, received record breaking precipitation this year, and record-breaking snowpack along with it. According to legislative sources, an April 7 report showed 30.1 inches of snowpack this year, surpassing the previous record of 26 inches in 1983, and the state is responding with flood preparedness when that record pack begins to melt. Kane County officials tapped those resources in a few different ways.
“First off, we haven’t really had any major flooding,” says Emergency Manager Alan Alldredge, “this is us getting prepared in response to the state’s decision, kind of like a grant for flood prevention … We’re hoping for the best, the right amount of heat at the right time to send the water where it needs to go. We’re just getting prepared in case that doesn’t happen.” The resources received by Kane County include 40,000 sandbags, a machine that loads the bags rapidly and a container to store and preserve a portion of the bags prepacked in case of emergency.
Additionally, $50,000 has been granted for the removal of a boulder that is currently blocking a major portion of the east fork of the Virgin River near Mt. Carmel Junction. “It’s cutting into the nearby bank already.” Says Alldredge. “Combine that with flooding, especially a flash flood that may carry debris that will block the flow further, and there can be major problems for the nearby houses.” The money will be dedicated to a special project for the boulder’s removal, with the contractor and means of removal yet to be determined.
When prompted for some best practices for individuals, Alldredge responded, “First of all, protect yourself - don’t try to drive through a wash and obey all closed road signs and warnings. Pay close attention to if you or your belongings are in a low altitude area or common drainage paths. Summertime floods in Kanab are sudden, with downpours and flash floods, where flooding in places like Cedar Mountain tend to be more gradual, with a slow buildup that can lead to major water flow.”
KCES encourages citizens to call dispatch at (435)-644-2349 if flood conditions are evident. Per Emergency Manager Alldredge, “quick response is really important when it comes to water - don’t hesitate to call dispatch if it looks like the water is rising in an area prone to floods.”