Flooding begins in Morgan CountyApr 24, 2023 12:48PM ● By Linda Petersen
An April 11 flood affected nine homes in Portersville. Morgan County Fire & EMS led the clean up the next day. Courtesy photo/ Morgan County Fire & EMS
Although spring runoff has just begun, Morgan County has already experienced some flooding. Last Tuesday, April 11, about nine homes on Highway 66 around 2800 South in Porterville were impacted by run off from the mountainside behind them beginning around 4 p.m.
Ditches above the homes designed to trap flood waters were overwhelmed and the water cascaded down between the homes, Fire Chief Boyd Carrigan said. Highway 66 was closed in both directions between 2700 South and Richville Lane until around 11:30 p.m. while fire crews and volunteers sandbagged the area in efforts to divert the flood waters across the highway. Motorists were instructed to use Morgan Valley Drive as an alternate route. At that time, most of the road was opened, but a small stretch of the road remained closed overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday morning.
Late Wednesday afternoon the flooding started up again and the crews and volunteers again diverted the water across the highway which was closed in both directions until Thursday morning.
“We were able to mitigate quicker because we knew what to do this time … It had very little impact on the homes this time,” Carrrigan said.
Due to the efforts of the fire crews and volunteers none of the homes suffered significant damage over the two days, he said. While a couple of homes had water in their basements during the first flood, in the second flood “most of the damage was to the existing ditches because of the overflow. A lot of the homes did receive some damage to their yards because of vegetation and soil washing away.”
Carrigan expressed appreciation for the volunteers who, he said, came from the surrounding areas with sandbags.
“That’s really what stopped the water,” he said. “We can’t do this on our own. Obviously the county has minimal resources.”
“These floods are different calls for us,” he added. “Most of the time as we’re going in to an incident, people are running away. With this, as we go in people are running around us to help so it’s pretty awesome.”
Carrigan anticipates he and his crews will be called out many times over the next several weeks as the potential for flooding is “dismal in all areas,” he said. “I think as soon as our temperatures reach 50, 60 degrees it all starts again, and it’s going to go in cycles.”
Local residents and property owners are directed to contact Weber/Morgan Non-Emergency Dispatch (801)-395-8221 and Morgan County Fire Station (801)-845-4049 for non-emergency flooding situations. In emergencies affecting life or property, individuals should call 911.
A Thursday, April 14 fire department Facebook post cautioned residents to be careful when employing pumps to evacuate water, indicating that there had been a “critical medical event” earlier that day with a gas-powered pump inside a home. It also cautioned Morgan County residents not to attempt to kayak or tube on the Weber River in its current state. “There have already been some incidents on this river in the last couple weeks,” it said.
Carrigan also advised local residents not to enter the flood waters, whether free flowing or standing.
“There are septic tanks in areas and that water can be contaminated,” he said. “I’ve seen people do so in swimsuits and floaties, and it’s not good water; it’s not good.”
Morgan County continues to offer free sand for sandbags (which individuals must provide) at the county fairgrounds, 750 E. Como Springs Rd., Morgan and Kent Smith Memorial Park, 5457 W. Old Highway Rd., Mountain Green, along with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints churches in Porterville, Milton, Enterprise and on the Cottonwood Canyon Road. Call Morgan County Emergency Manager Austin Turner at (801)-845-5119 for more information.λ