Editor’s note • The Salt Lake Tribune is providing free access to this vital story about flooding. Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter, sent to your inbox every morning. To support journalism like this, please donate or become a subscriber.
Although Utah temperatures began cooling Thursday, slowing snowmelt, the state’s waterways “will continue to experience elevated flows” through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
After a stretch of days that reached into the 80s, highs in the mid-60s are expected Friday through Sunday.
Highs in the low to mid-70s are forecast Monday through Wednesday. And there’s at least a slight chance of rain and thunderstorms along the Wasatch Front every day through Wednesday.
Search continues for woman swept away by river
Authorities continue to search for the body of a woman who fell into the raging Weber River near Uintah on Monday and was swept away.
Libby Stimpson, 28, was walking her dogs when she fell into the water, according to her family. “She loved those dogs,” said her sister, Laura Trumbo. “They were her children, basically.”
The dogs returned home, wet but unharmed, but searchers have found no sign of Stimpson as of Thursday morning.
A GoFundMe page to help “arrange for her funeral and burial when she is finally recovered” has been established for Stimpson’s family. It had raised more than $15,000 as of Thursday afternoon.
Bear River flooding kills cattle in Rich County
Ranchers in remote Rich County have been devastated by flooding along the Bear River, which has caused thousands of dollars in damage and killed livestock in recent weeks.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food estimates 20 to 30 ranches along the river have been impacted by floods, according to a news release from the department. The department also said some cattle have been lost due to the floods, though a total number has not yet been determined.
”After many difficult years of drought and an extremely hard winter, these ranchers are now experiencing some of the worst flooding ever seen in Rich County,” said UDAF commissioner Craig Buttars in a news release.
Damage from the floods is expected to total up to $25,000 per ranch, and the flood water has caused people to evacuate livestock from ranches. The cost of moving cattle away from flooded fields is estimated to be between $2,500 and $5,000.
The UDAF is working to help ranchers in the meantime and provide assistance to those hit hard by the flooding, according to the news release. The Utah Department of Emergency Management is also working to address the flooding in the county.
Emigration Creek flow slows
Emigration Creek, which peaked at about 150 cubic feet per second overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning — 20 cfs above its flood stage — is expected to remain below flood stage through the weekend, according to the weather service.
Salt Lake City Public Utilities is also monitoring Red Butte Creek, which was expected to peak Thursday, then lower continuously, department spokesperson Chloe Morroni said.
Sugar House Park, which serves as a flood detention basin, will remain closed to vehicles through at least May 14. The park remains open to pedestrians and cyclists, but people should use caution as flooding persists.
Parleys Creek — which runs through Sugar House Park, Parleys Historic Nature Park and Hidden Hollow — remains dangerous, Morroni said. People should stay away from the fast-flowing creek, which is has a strong undercurrent that could sweep people away, she advised. Its water level measured at about 2.7 feet as of Thursday evening.
Officials continue to monitor Big and Little Cottonwood creeks, which are expected to peak around mid-June, Morroni added.
Ogden River flooding
Near Huntsville, there’s a “moderate” risk of flooding along the south fork of the Ogden River through next week.
According to the weather service, the river will peak at 5.3 feet on Friday morning — 0.7 feet above the flood stage — and then remain at flood stage through much of next week.
Hyrum Dam watch continues
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation continues to monitor the spillway at Hyrum Dam — on the Little Bear River, about 9 miles southwest of Logan — around the clock as operators release “a high volume of water” to help manage Hyrum Reservoir’s water level.
Warm temperatures “have significantly increased snowmelt and runoff into the reservoir,” officials said.
The bureau is prepared to “take immediate action” if necessary at the dam, which was built in 1935.
Southern Utah flooding
There’s also a “moderate” risk of flooding along the Sevier River near Hatch until Friday evening, according to the weather service.
After peaking near 4.3 feet on Thursday morning — 0.6 feet above the flood stage — the river is expected to remain near flood stage through Friday evening.