Flash Flood Watch: Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield, Beaver counties; flash flood safety

SOUTHERN UTAH — The National Weather Service has issued a “Flash Flood Watch” for Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield and Beaver counties, in effect Tuesday at noon to Midnight.

Conditions

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to track north across southern and central Utah Tuesday. Some of these showers and thunderstorms will generate very heavy rain in short periods of time. Flash flooding will be possible in the more flash flood prone areas beginning Tuesday afternoon.

Dots denote affected area at radar time 2:45 p.m., Southern Utah, Aug. 11, 2014 | Image courtesy of the National Weather Service
Dots denote affected area at radar time 2:45 p.m., Southern Utah, Aug. 11, 2014 | Image courtesy of the National Weather Service

Affected areas

Portions of central, southern and southwest Utah, including the cities of Beaver, Cedar City, Milford, St. George, Kanab, Escalante, Bullfrog, Cove Fort, Koosharem, Fish Lake, Loa, Panguitch, Bryce Canyon, and the following areas:

  • Central Utah: Central Mountains
  • Southern Utah: Glen Canyon Recreation Area/Lake Powell, south central Utah, southwest Utah, Utah’s Dixie, Zion National Park, and the southern mountains

Most threatened

The flash flood threat will be greatest in the slot canyons, slick rock areas, small streams in steep terrain and near recent burn scars of extreme Southern Utah during the afternoon. The threat will shift north into central Utah during the late afternoon and evening.

Thunderstorms could easily produce one to two inches of rainfall in a short period of time. Areas of steep terrain or old burn scars will be the most prone to flash flooding and are also more susceptible to increased runoff or debris flows.

Precautionary, preparedness actions

A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

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

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.

Email: hcoombs@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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