Snowmelt sending floodwater into northern Utah homes

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 10, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Federal water managers declared a first-stage flood emergency and released water from a dam at a popular state park as warming temperatures sent rapid snowmelt into homes and onto roads in northern Utah on Friday.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says the move to send water from Hyrum Dam down the Little Bear River toward the towns of Paradise and Avon is not expected to cause property damage or endanger people.

The agency's "level one" emergency is the lowest on a three-step scale, a precaution that opens communication lines with county and local agencies amid predictions of more precipitation, local reclamation chief Wayne Pullan said.

The release isn't expected to cause flooding, but Pullan said the region about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City is already saturated. The bureau regularly releases water from the dam as it reaches its capacity.

The dam stands about 116 feet high and was completed in 1935. The declaration comes days after snowmelt in northern breached a rural earthen dam outside of Elko, closing roads and rerouting trains.

Meanwhile, a canal breach at the Bear-Lake shoreline community of Garden City sent floodwaters into several homes and onto a roadway as the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the area.

Homeowners outside of nearby Logan also woke up to flooded basements, and motorists found water pooled on nearby roads, The Herald Journal reported.

Meanwhile, KSL-TV reports extra water flowing into the sewer system is sending sewage into basements in 20 homes in Farr West, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City.

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Associated Press writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press

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