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Waters in Weber County were receding Tuesday after a breached levee led to minor flooding in some homes while threatening about 20 others, said Lance Peterson, the county's director of emergency management.
"There were seven spots that started to break or broke," Peterson said of the earthen levee built along the Weber River in the 1930s. The first breech was around 1 p.m.
The largest breach occurred just outside Plain City, where about 100 feet of the levee gave way.
"The water is moving up a hayfield," said Weber County sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther. "It's just rolling across the field to the houses. They'll try to sandbag, but there's only so much you can do."
Peterson said water flooded some homes before it began to recede about 5 p.m. Sandbagging efforts were able to prevent more serious damage in the area.
"We couldn't fix [the levee Tuesday]," Peterson said. "We're hoping the weather cooperates and the water goes down tonight, and we can get a track hoe out there tomorrow."
Water levels would need to drop by as much as 2 feet in some places for crews to get equipment and dirt to the breached sections.
In Marriott-Slaterville, water had crept "right up to the back porches" of half a dozen homes on a hillside, Lowther said.
"There's a 4-foot-high fence post and you can barely see the top of the post it's so high," he said.
Elsewhere around the state, the sandbaggers won Round 1 of a spring flooding thriller.
But a Monday deluge that sent some northern Utah waterways out of their banks is only the beginning of a flood season that could stretch into June.
The continued cold, wet weather is delaying the snowpack runoff, setting the stage for more flooding when temperatures rise.
Still, property owners along the Blacksmith Fork River in Cache County were expressing relief Tuesday as the weather broke and relatively cool temperatures slowed lower elevation runoff.
But at the Maughan family's summer cabin, about 2 ½ miles up Blacksmith Fork Canyon, they know the coming spring runoff poses a big threat.
"Even though we dodged a bullet yesterday, I'm not going home until the sandbags are up all around the cabin," Jan Maughan said.
Heavy rains raised the Blacksmith Fork River by 2 feet Sunday and Monday, threatening a number of cabins in the narrow canyon and inundating a summer RV park. At the Maughan place, Amanda Scothern was busy Tuesday filling sandbags with Jeremy Davis and Simon McCarthy.
"The water is down now, but it's going to come back again," Scothern said. "I don't think we're through even a quarter of the runoff."
Since early March, Utah has received two storms a week, said Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. That doesn't bode well for late spring flooding due to high runoff.
"The bigger picture is that we are delaying our melt and compressing our runoff window," he said.
More rain is expected Wednesday and Thursday. But it shouldn't be enough to cause more flooding this week, McInerney said.
Neither rain nor runoff is welcome at Riverside RV Park & Campground in Logan, said resident Doug Mallette. The park sits next to the Blacksmith Fork River near Utah 91 and 1700 South.
Floodwaters rose about 6 inches in the park Monday but didn't damage any motor homes. On Tuesday, about 3 inches of water remained on the grounds.
"My wife can't get into the pickup without waders," Mallette said. "Hopefully, this will subside before the next storm."
Residents and property owners in Salt Lake County's Emigration Canyon were glad to see a break in the weather, too.
On Monday, Pam Crowther watched as Emigration Creek spilled over its banks and into her yard.
"I was getting nervous," she said.
The water had receded more than a foot by Tuesday, but not before it caused minor flood damage to Crowther's guest home and a retaining wall that supported a footbridge to her home to sink.
County workers who were dredging culverts and bridges Tuesday removed the bridge, fearing it might fall into the creek, damming the water.
Joe Smolka, a neighbor whom Crowther had met the night before, and two other men went to work building a new bridge to her home Tuesday afternoon.
Smolka, who heads up the canyon community's emergency-preparedness efforts, said hundreds of volunteers filled sandbags and secured the creek's banks Sunday and Monday.
"I was standing on a bridge [Monday], and I walked off it so I could hear my phone," Smolka said. "I looked back, and there was 6 inches of water on the bridge. It was pretty wild."
Still, Smolka said Monday's troubles were relatively minor in Emigration Canyon.
"Seventy-five, '83, '84, '89 are the years I consider floods," he said. "A lot of people on the news are saying it's the worst they've ever seen. I'm not there. I'm not there by a foot."
Venerable Ruth's Diner was open for business on Tuesday after Monday's high water in Emigration Creek forced it to close.
Owner Tracy Nelson said crews were cleaning up the lower patio area that had been flooded. And she said the business likely hasn't seen the last of spring flooding.
"We're anticipating that it will come up again, once the weather heats up," she said of the creek.
Nonetheless, Nelson said the upper patios could be open by the weekend, weather permitting.
Find more information on the threat of spring flooding, go to sltrib.com/topics/utflood .
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