Flash flood watch issued for southern Nevada, northwest Arizona

This 2015 file photo shows a road flooded in Hildale. The flash flooding left a number of people dead and one still missing. Hildale, Utah, Sept. 15, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Emergency Services, St. George News

LAS VEGAS — The National Weather Service in Las Vegas has issued an urgent flash flood watch for northwest Arizona and southern Nevada, including Mesquite and Las Vegas, in effect through Monday evening.

While there hasn’t been a flash flood watch issued for Southern Utah at the time of this report, a hazardous weather outlook released Sunday by the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has forecast thunderstorms through midweek and caution is advised in those areas as well.

Read more: Hazardous weather outlook forecasts thunderstorms, possible flood danger

Dots indicate the area subject to the flood warning, 8:40 a.m. July 17, 2017 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge

Affected areas

The flash flood watch includes portions of northwest Arizona and southern Nevada.

In northwest Arizona: Lake Mead National Recreation Area, northwest deserts and northwest plateau.

In southern Nevada: Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Las Vegas Valley, northeast Clark County, Sheep Range, southern Clark County and Spring Mountains-Red Rock Canyon.

Impacts

Scattered thunderstorms capable of intense rainfall and rapid flash flooding are expected across the watch area. Be mindful of this potential and be prepared to respond if a warning is issued.

Areas most prone to flash flooding include slot canyons, normally dry washes, tributaries and waterways. Urban flooding is possible in areas of poor drainage.

Precautionary and 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.

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

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: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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