Apr 7, 2023 - News

It's not too late for Salt Lake City residents to get flood insurance

Illustration of a key hanging off of a life preserver.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

With temperatures spiking on the heels of record-breaking snow, flood risks are rising statewide.

  • But the worst of it could be a few weeks off, which means flood insurance may still be worthwhile.

Threat level: Temperatures in Salt Lake City are expected to reach 70° by Monday, which means the snowpack is starting to melt and fill creeks that flow into town.

Why it matters: At-risk homeowners may be running out of time to get flood insurance.

Yes, but: There's a lot of snow to melt, which means the flood risk won't peak immediately, Laura Briefer, director of the Department of Public Utilities for Salt Lake City told Axios.

  • The worst flooding will probably come in late April to mid-May.
  • That means a policy bought now could cover damages from this year's thaw.

Details: Salt Lake residents can view the estimated flood risk to their location on a county map.

  • Many property owners in the highest-risk areas (dark blue) probably had to get flood insurance to finance their homes. If not, they should seek insurance now, Briefer said.
  • Homeowners in the light blue areas on the map may also benefit from purchasing a policy this year, Briefer added.
  • "It’s not a bad idea to have flood insurance just for the protection and peace of mind because nobody is truly not at risk for flooding," she said, referring to FEMA recommendations.

What's next: Even if creeks aren't overflowing this weekend, they’ll likely be flowing fast and cold.

  • Wade Mathews, a public information officer for the state Division of Emergency Management, told Axios that residents should keep an eye on their children and pets if they live near a stream or waterway.
  • Mathews recommended residents with basements should consider installing sump pumps to minimize potential water damage.

Flashback: Briefer said the city's drainage system infrastructure has come a long way since 1983, when heavy snowfall resulted in massive flooding that turned State Street into a river.

Be smart: Salt Lake County Emergency Management is offering free sandbags for residents in case of flooding in multiple cities.


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