In ongoing efforts to minimize flood damage in western Weber County, emergency officials are installing pumps along the Weber River to try to divert more water from breaching levees and causing further damage.
The river was at 28 feet Tuesday, which is equal to the previous maximum height the county has encountered over the past several months, said Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther. Flood stage is considered 27 feet.
Because of the high water, officials have brought in six large pumps that have been loaned to the county by the Bureau of Reclamation. The pumps were transported from New Mexico.
Each pump can each push 25 cubic feet of water per second from the Weber River to a natural canal often referred to as "The Little Weber," where the water can travel past 5900 West and ultimately dump into unincorporated county land northwest of the river.
Two of the pumps were installed Tuesday. Lowther said officials aren't sure if all six will be installed or when any others will be put into action.
"We don't want to send a lot of water there until we figure out what (the water) is going to do," he said.
Officials say they aren't sure how effectively the pumps will be able to alleviate the high waters.
"All we may be able to do is keep the levee from breaking," Lowther said.
It could be disastrous if the levee is compromised, said Lance Peterson, Weber County sheriff's emergency coordinator.
"If we go over the top and wash this out, it will be horrendous," he said.
The chances of increased flooding are unknown, Lowther said, and will mostly depend on the weather.
He said officials took an aerial tour of the area Monday, and the current flood levels are still on par with the highest they've seen, but no new flooding areas appeared prominent from above.
"We're hoping that we've peaked, but we don't know," Lowther said.
Brian McInerney, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, issued an advisory Tuesday listing the Weber River as one of those in the state still in danger of more flooding.
However, McInerney said the forecast for the next week is for temperatures to stay below normal, which will slow the snowmelt and at least keep rivers from flooding more than they already are.
Ogden officials noted Tuesday that city employees have made extensive preparations for dealing with floodwaters, including filling 50,000 sandbags that are stocked for fast placement around swollen rivers and streams.
A news release from the city said workers are clearing debris from storm grates at least every day and placing plugs in the stormwater system to keep the river from backflowing into storm drains.