Flash Flood Watch continues, heavy rainfall possible; how to survive

Flooding on Red Hills Parkway, St. George, Utah, Sept. 9, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Eric Dodge, for St. George News

Update 11:16 a.m. as to south-central Kane County: The National Weather Service has canceled this alert as it applies to south-central Kane Count.  According to its notice, the heavy rain has ended and no longer poses a threat in the region. Several roads in the the area have been damaged, however, and are currently impassable.

SOUTHERN UTAH – The National Weather Service has issued a continuing “Flash Flood Watch” alert through 10 p.m. Thursday for central and southern Utah. Tropical mositure will remain in place across the region, resulting in showers and thunderstorms capable of producing very heavy rainfall through the evening.

Dots denote areas subject to flash flood watch, Southern Utah, Radar time 7:1- a.m.,  June 11, 2015 | Image courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge
Dots denote areas subject to flash flood watch, Southern Utah, Radar time 7:1- a.m., June 11, 2015 | Image courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

Affected areas

Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, Castle Country, San Rafael Swell; Sanpete/Sevier Valleys; southwest Utah including Utah’s Dixie and Zion National park; south-central Utah, including Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Lake Powell; central and southern mountains of Utah.

Cities in the alert area include: Scofield, Price, Castle Dale, Emery, Green River, Hanksville, Manti, Richfield, Beaver, Cedar City, Milford, St. George, Kanab, Escalante, Bullfrog, Cove Fort, Koosharem, Fish Lake, Loa, Panguitch, Bryce Canyon


The flash flood threat will be greatest, the alert states, across slot canyons, slick rock areas, normally dry washes, small streams in steep terrain and near recent burn scars.

Travel may become difficult or impossible on both maintained roadways and those in backcountry areas.

Precautionary, preparedness actions

A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

Anyone traveling near these areas is cautioned to use prudent judgment to ensure safety.

Turn around. Don’t drown.

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

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:  Swiftwater, high angle teams rescue 13 campers stranded by 1:30 a.m. flash flood in slot canyon

During any flood emergency, stay tuned to your NOAA weather radio, commercial radio or television, follow St. George News at StGeorgeNews.com and St. George News Facebook for weather alerts and updates relevant to Southern Utah. Emerging information may save your life.

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