The winter snow fall has accumulated to a level much higher than normal in the mountain drainage areas. Rapidly increasing temperatures and/or rain in the mountains could bring the Spanish Fork River to flood levels. There will be multiple trail closures as crews more aggressively maintain the river this spring.
Click on chart for the most up-to-date information.
The Spanish Fork River has flooded a few times in recorded history, with the 3 most memorable floods in 1952, 1983 and 1984. These years recorded water flow in excess of 3,000 cubic feet / second (cfs). In the Spring, the Spanish Fork River flow will typically exceed 1,000 cfs and peak somewhere near 1,500 cfs.
River Flow Chart
Click on chart for the most up-to-date information.
Concerns Around the River
There are 3 major concerns that citizens should be aware of with high water flow along the river.
Riverbank Erosion. Swift water can easily eat away a riverbank, from the bottom up. You may remember some of the images from St. George a few years ago where the Virgin River carved a wider river channel, eating away golf courses, backyards and even a few homes. Erosion can eat away a tall river bank, allow water to escape the channel and flood into low-lying areas.
High Water Flow. As the river level rises, it may eventually flow beyond its banks over bridges, backyards, streets, parks, etc. Spanish Fork City does not allow homes to be constructed in the 100 year floodplain, but there are homes adjacent to the floodplain that we are watching closely.
Walking Near the River. Residents should exercise extreme caution anytime they are near a river. With the Spring run-off, the river moves swiftly and carries a lot of debris. Someone walking on a trail or playing at the river's edge may stumble unsuspectingly into the water because the bank has been eaten away below. Parents should pay special attention to their children while they are playing at the Sports Park. Be sure your children stay close to you and do not wander by the trail and river. Please keep children away from the river.
Q. Is my house in danger of being flooded?
A. Unless your house is directly adjacent to the river, meaning your back yard backs up against the river, there is very little risk of your house being flooded, even in a hundred-year flood.
Q. Where can I get sandbags for my house?
A. Spanish Fork City will provide sand, bags, and equipmend to fill the bags at potential flooding locations when flooding is possible.
Q. What areas of the city are most likely to flood?
A. There are a small number of properties located near the river that have the greatest potential for flooding. There are a few streets with houses whose backyards back up to the river that the city has identified as having a higher potential of flooding, and there are also a few areas in and around the golf course that could potentially flood. There are a few other areas scattered along the river the city is keeping a close eye on and city crews will work with those surrounding neighborhoods if water levels increase.
Q. How high is the river flowing and when will it flood?
A. To view the river flow go to the USGS Website . Typical spring river flow will reach 1,200 to 1,500 CFS. For reference: high water flow in 1983 reached 2,770 CFS and the high water flow in 1984 reached 3,700 CFS.
Q. What steps has the city taken to mitigate flooding and flood damage?
A. The City has taken and continues to take a number of steps to prepare for and mitigate potential flood damage:
Flood Information Center (FIC). The City has created this section on the website dedicated solely to distributing flood information. The FIC.s focus is to answer common questions about flooding, inform citizens of current flood conditions and provide links to additional websites that contain additional information.
Clearing the River. City crews are removing dead trees, large branches and other debris from the river beds and the surrounding areas.
Armoring Riverbeds. The City has armored several banks along the river with heavy rock and material to help prevent eroding as river levels rise.
Sandbag Preparations. The City has sand, bags, and equipment that will be delivered if the potential for flooding increases. Volunteer organizations have already been notified and placed on alert, ready to fill and distribute bags as soon as they are needed.
Q. What can I do to help?
A. Great question! Below is a list of several things you can do right now to help prepare yourself and others for potential flooding this year. This is not a comprehensive list, but will help you get started and spur additional preparation ideas.
Become a Spanish Fork City Facebook friend and follow Spanish Fork City on Twitter to get instant notifications about river heights, sandbagging locations and times, road closures, etc.
Email Don Thomas, Spanish Fork City's Director of Emergency Preparedness and express your organization's willingness to be notified when volunteers are needed. Include an email address and a phone number, and Don will add you to his volunteer contact list.
Create and discuss a disaster plan with your family
Talk with your neighbors, especially those that may need additional help in the event of an emergency
Stay informed on local conditions by checking the city website, newspaper, news and National Weather Radio broadcasts.
Q. Can I help prepare sandbags for the potential flooding?
A. Gratefully, Spanish Fork is not susceptible to flash flooding so river flooding is fairly predictable. Because of this it is our policy to not fill sand bags until flooding becomes more imminent. We then have a system in place that with a lot of volunteers we can fill and place a lot of sand bags at the location needed in a short amount of time. We also have some other flood control options much easier and less messy than sand bags that we utilize first. Since we dont allow houses to be constructed in the flood plain it takes a very serious event to trigger the need for sand bags.
Please check back to this site often for updates and information.