Holladay, Utah leaders declared a state of emergency saying that the threat of flooding of the city is now an” imminent risk” as temperatures will be rising into the eighties in the coming days and over the weekend.
Currently, the creek is running at 340 cfs (cubic feet per second). The river is expected to surpass 650 cfs by Sunday. Partial flooding will occur near river banks when the creek surpasses 600 cfs. At this level, the creek reached the “action stage” which means communities should prepare for flooding. Temperatures are expected to rise to the mid-eighties in the valley this weekend. If mountain temperatures reach a high enough level severe flooding could occur. Severe flooding would happen if creek levels surpass 850 cfs. This level could cause flooding around the entire Jordan River and the surrounding areas.
Brian McKinerney, former Hydrologist for the National Weather Service told Utah Stories in April, “There is currently over 30 inches of water still in the Cottonwood Canyon mountains above 9000 feet.” If temperatures rise too quickly we could see some severe flooding especially if there is an additional rain storm.
Big Cottonwood Creek flows through Knudson Park located in Cottonwood Heights, near the Cotton Bottom Bar. Parts of the river access have been barricaded to prevent the possibility of children or dogs being swept away by the swift water. The area around the Big Cottonwood Creek near Cotton Bottom Inn and Knudson Park has already been sandbagged. There is still more sand in the park. By declaring a state of emergency, Holladay City will have access to additional funds and resources to prepare for flooding. Salt Lake City declared a state of emergency back in April when Emmigration Creek began flooding from low-elevation run-off. The greatest dangers now are from the high-elevation runoff which includes Big and Little Cottonwood Creeks, and City Creek Canyon.