ST. GEORGE — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a flash flood watch for portions of Southern Utah. In addition, a hazardous weather outlook is forecasting wet weather for the remainder of the state through the weekend and potentially into next week.
According to the flash flood watch, which goes into effect Thursday at noon and is set to expire early Friday morning, gusty winds and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rain will develop in the afternoon, moving from southeast to northwest and potentially creating flash flood conditions, especially in slot canyons, burn scars, dry washes and small streams.
Affected areas include but are not limited to: Glen Canyon Recreation Area/Lake Powell, Capitol Reef National Park and vicinity and western Canyonlands.
The hazardous weather outlook, which lasts through Wednesday, is forecasting daily showers and thunderstorms capable of heavy rain and gusty winds each afternoon and evening across much of the forecast area.
Flash flood precautions
Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. The public should monitor the latest forecasts and be prepared to take action. For the most current conditions, warnings and advisories, go to the National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office website.
Turn around. Don’t drown.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service offer the following safety rules for flash flooding:
- 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 official weather reports via radio, television and social media. Cell phone users can also sign up to receive weather alerts as text messages. You can also follow St. George News and Cedar City News for weather alerts and updates relevant to Southern Utah.
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