OGDEN -- As the Weber River continues to swell over its banks, Fort Buenaventura has stopped seeing visitors.
"Not too many, not what we expect," Weber County Parks and Recreation Manager Jim Carter said Monday. "It affects our bottom line for revenue, but hopefully, we can make it back up."
The park, which opened May 1, has had only a few campers this season. For most of the month, the weather has been cold and wet.
Now, the river has flooded the group area, while the gate separating Fort Buenaventura from the Ogden city park area has a few inches of water as well.
Water levels continue to rise.
"It's getting higher and higher every day," Carter said.
To prevent further damage to the park, sandbags have been placed around the pavilion and restrooms. A diversion dike was built to prevent Fort Buenaventura's pond from overflowing.
National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney said the level of the river should be going down over the next several days, but he made it clear that is not a good thing except for the flooded areas along the river.
"We have two flood warnings that are going until Tuesday (today), and then we're going to pull them," he said. After that, the weather will be 10 degrees below normal for at least the next week, possibly 10 days, and there will be an additional inch or two of precipitation in the mountains.
"So what we're doing is stopping the melt, but prolonging it once again," he said.
Until this week, McInerney said, the melt had been proceeding in fits and starts, cold for a few days, then warm, then cold again. That allowed the snowpack to melt slowly enough it didn't overwhelm the reservoirs and river systems.
But now, he said, "If we're going to have cold up to 10 days, we're moving into June and the probability of hitting 80 is really high, even to hit 80 for consecutive days. And if that's the case, instead of minor flooding, we're looking at major flooding."
The current snowpack is anywhere from 225 to 400 percent of normal, he said, with the higher amounts of snow on the middle areas of mountain slopes.
That means there's a lot of snow waiting to melt, McInerney said, and if it waits until June's higher temperatures to do so, it could all melt at once.
Weber County Emergency Management Director Lance Peterson said the water levels have surpassed those of 1983 and 1984, which were the highest in recent memory.
Ideally, he hopes the weather stays in the 60s and 70s for the next few weeks before gradually warming up.
"We'll see how we are in another week and how much is melted," Peterson said.
Emergency management personnel have focused their attention on other parts of the county, such as Plain City and the lower Weber, along with Wolf Creek. He said they will check on Fort Buenaventura in a couple of days.
In the meantime, all Carter can do is wait for the weather to stay cool enough that the snow does not melt too fast, causing more flooding, but stays warm enough to dry out the soggy campground.
"It's kind of a Catch-22 that way."