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Expected runoff causes people in Weber County to take precautions

(Photo Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

EDEN — We’re not at flooding stages yet, but for some people in Weber County, better safe than sorry.  Volunteers have been lining up sandbags along certain parts of the Ogden River as a precaution before runoff turns into something more.

The water levels along the river near Eden are already high, but people have placed some sandbags along the north fork of the river, where it comes to the Pineview Reservoir, to protect new abutments along a footbridge.

Weber County Emergency Management Director Lance Peterson says they’re expecting to put down more bags in the south fork, also, but only as a precaution.

“Quite often, we do have to sandbag a couple of smaller subdivisions along the south fork because people have built their cabins right up to the river,” Peterson says.

Some KSL viewers have posted videos of large amounts of standing water on some roads in Weber County, but Peterson believes their rivers and streams will be able to handle the snow melt this year, even though there will be a lot of it.

Peterson says, “Other than that, we’re kind of cautiously optimistic.”

Water watchers are just as optimistic.  Hydrologist Brian McInerney with the National Weather Service says the bulk of the snow melt is about two weeks late, but that’s not late enough to have them very concerned.  In other years when we did have a lot of flooding, the snow melt started between a month and six weeks later than normal.

McInerney also says the snowpack isn’t necessarily ripe to release a lot of runoff, yet, but he believes it will happen soon unless we see a change in the weather.

“If we have clouds and storms then we won’t see much melt at all, but, if we see blues skies and a lot of solar radiation infiltrating the snowpack with warm air temperatures, we’ll start to see a pick up [of water] in these rivers and streams,” he says.