TREMONTON – The recent cold weather has slowed down Box Elder’s flooding situation, but the county’s emergency services coordinator Mark Millett is advising locals to stay prepared and know how to respond in case it continues. There is still a chance of more flooding.
The central communities of Elwood, Tremonton, Garland, Thatcher and Bothwell were the center of the affected areas last week. Millett said water may continue to flow there, but he is hopeful the worst in that area is over. He said it is more likely the flooding will continue to move north, to communities like Fielding, Plymouth and Portage.
“Depending on how much things warm up and how quick that water runs off, they could be facing the same situation,” he told 104.9 The Ranch’s Greg Madson on 104.9 FM Monday night.
According to Millett, 30,000 sandbags have already been distributed throughout the county, but there are still 20,000 filled and ready for use. He advised those that may need them not to wait for an emergency, but to prepare now.
“If you’re sitting downhill from a field that has still got six to eight inches of snow and your house isn’t much higher than what that field is, now is the time to be doing some looking,” he said. “Go out and grab some of those sandbags and take care of your property.”
The county has also set up the Code Red emergency alert system that will notify residents through home phone landlines of “critical information that may make a difference” in someone’s life. Millett encouraged those without landlines to sign up for Code Red cell phone notifications on the <a href=”http://www.boxeldercounty.org/” target=”_blank”>county website</a> or the <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/pg/BECountyEmergencyNotification/about/?ref=page_internal” target=”_blank”>Box Elder County Emergency Management Facebook page</a>.
According to Millett, the majority of the flooding was due to heavy snowpack followed by sudden warm weather. The snow melted on top of the fields, which soon became over-saturated, leaving the water with nowhere to go.
“It moves from one field into the next, gathers steam and then its bumping up against the backs of houses an up against the roadways,” he said. “The soils are flat-out saturated, they can take no more.”
There is additional concern for riverbed areas, especially if there isn’t a gradual runoff this spring.
“If you live in areas where you’ve got drainages, you’ve got creeks, you’ve got rivers, it’s time to keep your heads up eyes open,” Millett said. “We’ve got almost 200 percent of normal snowpack.”
Millet encouraged residents to take time to be informed. He said information can be found on the <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/pg/BECountyEmergencyNotification/about/?ref=page_internal” target=”_blank”>Box Elder Emergency Management Facebook page</a>, <a href=”http://www.boxeldercounty.org/” target=”_blank”>the Box Elder County website</a> and the <a href=”https://www.fema.gov/” target=”_blank”>FEMA website</a>.
“Assess where you’re at,” he said. “Keep your eyes open, look at the resources we’ve got out there.”