High water flows, thunderstorms forecast for Short Creek; ‘flash flood warning’

Flash flood results in fatalities in Hildale, Utah, Sept. 14, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Chris and Lydia Wyler, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY – The National Weather Service has issued a “Flash Flood Warning” for southeastern Washington County including Hildale and specifically Short Creek.

The warning is in effect until noon today, and heightened flows are anticipated to remain in the area through the afternoon hours.

Additional thunderstorm activity is expected to occur as we move into the afternoon hours.

As evidenced in Hildale Monday, flash flooding is a dangerous and sometimes lethal condition. Flash flooding in Short Creek overturned two fully-occupied vehicles Monday. As this flash flood alert publishes, eight bodies have been recovered, three survivors have been rescued and five people remain missing.  A massive search effort is underway in the twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona.

Read more: News LIVE: Fatal Hildale flood; 8 dead, 5 remain missing – updated 7:30 a.m.

Precautionary, preparedness actions

Remain alert for flooding even in locations not receiving rain. Dry washes, streams and rivers can become raging killer currents in a matter of minutes, even from distant rainfall.

Move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life.

Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway.  The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely.

Turn around. Don’t drown.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service offer safety rules for 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
  • 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, including dips, low spots, canyons and washes
  • 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

Read more: Rescue commander tells how to survive a flash flood

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.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic  @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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