Stay away from these ‘raging’ rivers and creeks, Utah hydrologist says

MURRAY, Utah — Spring runoff is creating dangerous conditions for several rivers and creeks across Utah.

Some are flowing more than 10 times higher than normal, according to National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney.

“The last time we had high water like this, where we were really worried about it, was 2011,” McInerney said. “Right now, they are raging, they are dangerous, and they are freezing cold.”

All the snow that fell through May is getting a late start melting, and the ice-cold water is feeding several waterways.

McInerney warns people to stay out of the Big Cottonwood Creek, Little Cottonwood Creek, Provo River, Duchesne River, American Fork River and Weber River until things return to normal.

“This is the most dangerous place in the state right now for the next two weeks,” McInerney said. “If you happen to fall in, you can’t get out because you’re in what’s like a washing machine getting tossed around.”

All of the areas he mentioned are fed by snowmelt from high elevations.

“All of these have significant snowpack remaining. This has produced some significant flow,” McInerney said.

He estimates things will be active and dangerous until late June. This threat is one of the few negatives from an active winter and spring.

“The water year has been great,” McInerney said. “We just need to keep monitoring this for about two weeks to see how this shakes off.

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