Popular Park in Salt Lake City, UT, Floods Due to Extensive Spring Runoff From Record Winter

Martin Kuprianowicz | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City is inundated with runoff. | Photo: Evan Gallagher

900 inches of snowfall has to go somewhere.

Sugar House Park, a popular park located a few miles east of downtown Salt Lake City, has been flooded with muddy-brown water. The park’s flooding comes as a result of controlled reservoir releases to help mitigate intensive snowmelt from the record winter northern Utah just experienced. Parts of the park that visitors would once stroll over with pets, lovers, or small children are now inundated up to four feet deep, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. At this time the area is still open to parkgoers but people should avoid the flooded areas as there is no telling what that water will do as snow continues to melt in the Wasatch Mountains.

Sugar House Park this week. | Photo: Evan Gallagher

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the controlled releases are proactive measures in order to maintain runoff capacity ahead of “peak” runoff from nearby Parley’s Creek. The released water funnels into the creek before traveling to the pond at Sugar House Park which serves as a detention basin for the excess water. As a result, the park’s roadway is covered, which actually happens semi-often on big snow years like this one. Still, it doesn’t look quite right at first glance and it goes to show the massive volume of snow the mountains have received this winter.

In mid-April, Governor Cox declared a state of emergency across Utah due to flooding and dangerous conditions throughout the state. All over Utah there has been flooding, avalanches, landslides, and rockslides this spring as a result of the runoff, with Little Cottonwood Canyon forced to close earlier this week due to an unexpected mudslide. On top of the emergency declaration, northern Utah has experienced temperatures that are 20 degrees higher than average than this time of year according to the Utah Avalanche Center, furthering the snowmelt and corresponding flooding. With peak runoff still weeks away and snow depths of 16 feet or more in the Wasatch, it’s going to be a wet and wild spring for Utah.

Photo: Evan Gallagher
Photo: Evan Gallagher

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