Most Common Causes of Flooding in Utah

Residential floodingFlooding is the single most common natural disaster in the United States. However, few standard homeowners insurance policies make precautions for it. It might seem silly to worry about flood risk in a state that’s much more prone to drought (like Utah), but the truth is that at least a few floods happen every year in Utah, and Utah is home to many disastrous historic floods.

Don’t let your home be a casualty! Take precautions now to guard yourself against floods. Some of the most common causes of flooding in Utah are the following:

Plumbing Problems

Problems with drainage and leaks can lead to disaster for your home. Leaks are an especial risk in areas where you risk freezing pipes. Expanding ice and water can stretch the pipes until they crack. Often, you don’t realize there’s a problem until you come home to a basement full of ankle-deep water.

Take steps to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze over the winter. Furthermore, make sure that you are vigilant against small signs of plumbing damage in your home. This could be anything from a spike in your water bill to mold creeping in on the floor. If there are small signs, take action right away and call a plumber. If there’s evidence that you can see, there’s even more evidence that you can’t see.

High Hazard Dams

Perhaps the most common cause for historic floods in Utah is burst dams. Because we store all of our water up mountain passes, damage on these structures can quickly lead to flooding in the valleys. There are about 300 dams in Utah that are classified as “high hazard,” with 100 of them along the Wasatch front alone. Utah government and city planning keeps a close eye on these risks, and you can check your own personal risk by looking at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.


Storms can cause flooding in your home, even in Utah. If there’s a storm system that just won’t let up, make sure that you’re tuned into the weather station or another public radio station that will issue flood warnings when needed. If a flood is approaching, you can take precautions by putting up blockades of sawdust bags, but it’s most important to have a plan if you need to leave your home and reunite with your family elsewhere. Remember, it only takes 6 inches of flowing water to knock you off your feet, and it only takes a foot of water to float your car, so move with care and be savvy about the risks.

For more information about flooding in Utah, check out this government-issued informative pdf.