Frozen Surfaces, Heavy Rain, Warm Temperatures, and Melting Snow Contribute to Flooding in Ogden Valley
By Shanna Francis
January 2017 ushered in heavy snowfall, freezing rain, and downright cold temperatures within the state—including Ogden Valley. The mountain community saw heavier than average snow levels, compared to recent years—its three resorts celebrating their good fortune. However, a February thaw blew in at the beginning of the month, bringing warmer than average temperatures, with Salt Lake City hitting a record-breaking 66 degrees Fahrenheit on February 9.
Ogden Valley also experienced warmer than average days and nights during the opening of the month, along with higher than average rainfall—all combining to form the perfect storm (no pun intended). The result, heavy flooding throughout the valley—primarily in Eden and Liberty.
In Liberty, the Sheep Creek area was hit especially hard, as was a subdivision along and west of 3300 N. on the road leading to Nordic Valley after a ditch bank gave way near a culvert. With the breach, a steady flow of high water continued to surge out of the river bed, heading downhill, flooding homes along its way as it moved into basements after quickly filling up window wells and other low points along foundations. With the Valley still cocooned in deep snow blanketing a still frozen, hibernating valley floor, the water had minimal options but to flow unrestrained, directed only by gravity and newly placed sandbags and freshly bulldozed and mounded terrain.
In the Wolf Creek area in Eden, a few homes were flooded after running surface storm water emptied into exterior sewer manholes and drains, only to bubble up into homes through interior sewer drains—the surge of water, now building pressure within Wolf Creek’s now filled and over capacitated sewer lines. Once within the lines, the only reprieve for the rushing water was up though the home drains of the lowest lying homes on the system.
A creek on Willowbrook Lane below the Patio Springs subdivision, easily jumped its banks—the now-shallow creek, not having been dredged for many years, unable to carry the unexpected rush of water. Barricades lined the side of the road where its shoulder has been eaten away by the torrent of water.
Also in Eden, the Froerer Subdivision, Eden Acres, off of Highway 158 and the area behind and east of the Hearthside in the northeast border of Eden, experienced heavier than usual seasonal sheet flooding with ditches and canals unable to carry the heavy runoff—again, the water flowing across once empty fields into residential basements.
Weber County Road Supervisor Scott Storey stated that between the heavy snowfall in January, followed by the heavy rains and accompanying February flooding, their department of about 14 county employees has been putting in a lot of extra-long hours between plowing and now responding to the flooding that has been taking place. “We take pride in what we do; we’ve been working hard to try and keep up.”
Storey added that he knows of, at least, 25 homes that have been flooded within the last couple of weeks. The county has been supplying sandbags and sand, which can be accessed at the county sheds in Eden, down the hill behind Snowcrest Jr. High. Volunteers have been turning out to fill the sandbags, with flood victims, and potential flood victims, turning out to pick up the filled orange bags.
The county has also using their time and heavy equipment to help shore up weak areas being overrun, such as the ditch breach in Liberty.