FARMINGTON -- Heavy mountain snowpack, steep stream channels, saturated soils and past history have Davis County Public Works crews doing flood control work.
Roughly 1,000 sandbags have been filled and stored at the county's public works yard in Fruit Heights, with an additional 65,000 sandbags now being filled by county work crews and Davis County jail inmate trustees, said Robert Smith, Davis County Public Works operations manager.
There is the likelihood sandbags will have to be used in west Farmington near the Criminal Justice Center, where the land is flat and the stream channel more narrow, Smith said.
The snowpack in the Wasatch Mountains above Davis County is at 140 to 150 percent of normal as of March 30, said Brian McInerney, hydrologist for the National Weather Service.
Weber County has more than 130 percent of snowpack, which usually continues to build until mid-April.
The lower-elevation snow melt, McInerney said, is two weeks late and soils are saturated, creating a heavier flow of runoff.
McInerney said he finds it prudent that county officials are preparing for a heavy runoff. He has met with county officials for a few weeks to make them aware of the high stream flows they may encounter this spring.
"The spring weather will dictate what the peak stream flows will be," McInerney said.
Lance Peterson, director of Weber County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, also is keeping his eyes on the skies.
"If the weather cooperates, we'll be just fine,' he said. "If it doesn't, we will have some localized flooding."
The county is keeping an eye on several areas, including the South Fork of the Ogden River and the lower Weber River.
"What we've been experiencing in the past couple of years is sheet flooding in the Eden area," Peterson said.
That occurs when water does not soak into the ground, such as rain falling on snow, which can result in a half-mile-wide river of water less than 3 inches deep.
Although Morgan County officials are monitoring weather conditions closely, they are not filling sandbags yet.
"Flooding is a possibility, but we're waiting to see what the weather is doing," said Terry Turner, county emergency management director. "We're in a hold-and-watch mode."
Turner said the county has 50,000 empty sandbags and plenty of sand ready in case of flooding. "We're just waiting to see when and where we need them first."
Davis County Public Works Director Kirk Schmalz said county crews are preparing for a heavy runoff because of the deep snowpack.
"(The snow) is as high as it was in '83," he said.
In May 1983, Farmington and Bountiful experienced costly property damage after spring temperatures quickly turned hot, melting a heavy snowpack out of the mountains all at once.
Since then, Davis County has spent millions of dollars on its flood control channels to move the runoff from the mountains through Davis neighborhoods and into Great Salt Lake.
"We're trying everything we can," said Davis County Commissioner John Petroff Jr.
Also this week, the county commission approved the purchase of a $14,000 centrifugal pump that can be used should a stream begin overflowing.
Schmalz said the large pump is situated on a trailer, so it can be taken where it is needed.
Standard-Examiner reporter Charles Trentelman and correspondent Deanne Winterton contributed to this article.