State of Emergency Declared Across Utah Due to Destructive Flooding

Luke Guilford | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Flood damage
Flood damage on a street in Kaysville on April 12th. Photo Credit:

Update 4/19/23: Governor Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency Tuesday, April 18th, due to flooding and dangerous conditions across the state. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. On April 14th, we reported in the article below that Salt Lake County was under a state of emergency. That has now been taken to the state level.

Throughout the state, there has been flooding, avalanches, landslides, rockslides, and mudslides. Governor Cox had this to say about the situation in his press release.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the moisture we’ve received this winter, but the extra rain and hefty snowpack present increasing flood risks as the snow melts,” Governor Cox said in the press release. “By declaring a state of emergency, the state will be better able to tap into reserve funds to support flood response and mitigation efforts. In short, we’ll be better prepared for what lies ahead this spring.”

According to the press release from, legislators have appropriated $5 million for emergency flood mitigation. Executive Order 2023-05 will allow the state to utilize the State Disaster Recover Restricted Account for additional resources. The Executive Order also permits Utah to seek aid from the federal government and other states.

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service data, only one-tenth of Utah’s record-breaking snowpack has melted. 

The emergency will remain in effect for 30 days from April 18th. 

Sandbag teams work to divert water from Emigration Creek
Sandbag teams work to divert water from Emigration Creek. Photo Credit:

Original county-wide state of emergency report (4/14/23):

A state of emergency was declared in Salt Lake County, Utah, after areas saw destructive flooding Tuesday and Wednesday caused by the melting of a record snowpack. In response to the state of emergency, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall encourages everyone to help, saying volunteers can help by filling sandbags.

The state of emergency went into effect on April 12th and will last 30 days. If more help is needed after the declaration is set to expire, the Salt Lake County Council can extend the order. Officials are taking action as a river flood advisory for Emigration Creek was upgraded to a Flood Warning, effective through Thursday afternoon.

More sandbag work over 1700 South in Salt Lake City. April 13, 2023. Photo Credit:

The declaration comes just hours after the city and the county began informing residents of voluntary evacuations along Emigration Creek in downtown Salt Lake City. Those areas include:

  • Glen Arbor St., both north and south sides
  • South side of Blaine Ave. between 1500 East and 1600 East
  • Downington Cir.

Those who have evacuated can seek shelter at the LDS church at 2215 E. Roosevelt Ave. (1445 South). Pets are not allowed.

Check out the state of emergency declaration.

Emigration Creek is not the only area that is being kept on watch. Areas along Red Butte Creek, City Creek, Big Cottonwood Creek, Little Cottonwood Creek, and Millcreek are at the highest risk of spring runoff.

FOX 13 Salt Lake City added this statement for those willing to help.

Volunteers can meet near 17th and 17th by the police barricade at 1:30 Thursday to help out. Bring shovels, gloves and sturdy boots. City officials ask that volunteers not drive in from other areas as parking is limited and roads could get easily congested.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson declared the state of emergency, saying emergency response has been “round-the clock” as Emigration Creek flooded late Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.

The declaration allows the county to mobilize resources to address the flooding including, “emergency response teams, increasing staffing levels, and utilizing specialized equipment to protect the residents and property of the county,” officials explained in a release.

In addition, Salt Lake County will be able to access state and federal resources to alleviate flood impacts with the emergency declaration.

The county and city will continue to provide updates on the situation as conditions can change quickly. Officials strongly encourage all residents to stay vigilant and take appropriate actions to ensure their safety and the safety of their families.

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