SOUTHERN UTAH – The National Weather Service has issued a “Flash Flood Watch” for Washington and Iron counties today in effect until Wednesday evening.
Conditions – The NWS Doppler radar indicated a very moist airmass will remain over much of central and southern Utah through Wednesday night with numerous showers and thunderstorms. Heavy rain is likely with the stronger storms resulting in local flash flooding. In addition, many areas are already saturated from the rains of the last several days and it may not take all that much more rain to generate flash flooding. Wednesday afternoon and evening are expected to be the most active period across central and southern Utah.
Timing – 3:28 p.m. – Wednesday, Sept. 12 at midnight.
Affected areas – Portions of central Utah, southern Utah, and southwest Utah, including the following areas: Castle Country, central Mountains, San Rafael Swell, Sanpete/Sevier Valleys, Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, Glen Canyon Recreation Area/Lake Powell, south central and southwest Utah, Utah’s Dixie and Zion National Park, and the southern Mountains.
Most threatened – Areas most prone to flash flooding include small creeks and streams in steep terrain, slot canyons and slickrock areas, and normally dry washes. In addition, recent burn scars may experience debris flows.
Precautionary and preparedness actions
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service offer safety rules for flash flooding:
- Conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.
- Flash flood waves, moving at incredible speeds, can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Killing walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet. You will not always have warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. When a flash flood warning is issued for your area or the moment you first realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may have only seconds.
- Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. The road bed may not be intact under the water. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away. Case in point: In July 2013 a tour bus in Arizona tipped over and got swept nearly one-half mile down an otherwise dry wash.
- Do not hike rivers and especially slot canyons while flash flood warnings are in place.
- Do not hike alone and always tell someone where you and your buddy and others are going.
- Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes, et cetera.
- Avoid already flooded and high velocity flow areas. Do not try to cross a flowing stream on foot where water is above your knees.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
- During any flood emergency, stay tuned to your NOAA weather radio, commercial radio, or television, follow St. George News at STGnews.com and St. George News Facebook for weather alerts and updates relevant to Southern Utah. Information from the national weather service and disaster and emergency services may save your life.
Turn around, don’t drown.
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