Height of flood season coming;authorities ready

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    By MARGARET NELL

    Rain, rain, go away … the mountains are full today.

    High mountain snowpack and cool wet weather has increased flooding potential, and local authorities are optimistically preparing.

    “It’s nice to have a storm now and then. We’ve had more now than recently,” said Bill Alder of the National Weather Service. The snowpack in northern Utah is between 150 percent and 180 percent of normal.

    With the higher than normal snowpack, the key to no flooding is warm, dry weather through the next few weeks. The critical time for spring runoff is May 10 through June 15.

    If the weather is cool and wet, it is “pushing (the) melt-off window for getting snow out of the mountains,” Alder said, and the timing and weather becomes more critical.

    With May approaching, Sundance is preparing. The resort has used 2,000 sandbags in low lying areas, spokeswoman Missy Larsen said.

    “We know the area well enough to know where to put them,” Larsen said. The creeks are small, shallow and have “room to flow,” she said.

    Provo City is “not anticipating problems” but is preparing for the possibilities. “The snowpack is largely at the mercy of springtime temperatures.”

    Little Rock and Slate Canyons are being monitored daily, and weather forecasts are being watched. In addition, water channels are being cleaned, and some sandbagging is beginning, said Greg Beckstrom, Provo Storm Water District said.

    Another area of concern is the Utah Lake State Park. Park Superintendent Larry Mullins said “being proactive is the key.” Most preparations have already been made.

    The park has rebuilt or repaired dikes from 1983 to 1984, when Utah had severe flooding. Mullins also said potential flood areas have been sandbagged. Where sandbagging is impractical, signs and other things that could be damaged have been moved.

    Utah Lake is now 13 inches over the compromise line, where flooding is measured from.

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