Most of Utah under Flash Flood Watch as heavy storms move in

Stock image | St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a flash flood watch for most of Utah in effect noon Monday until Tuesday evening as showers and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rainfall are expected Monday across the area.

Dots indicate the area subject to the Flash Flood Watch, radar time 10:50 a.m., Utah, July 24, 2017 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge

Affected area

Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs, Castle Country, San Rafael Swell, Sanpete/Sevier valleys, west central Utah, southwest Utah, Utah’s Dixie and Zion National Park, South Central Utah, Glen Canyon Recreation Area/Lake Powell, central mountains, southern mountains, including the cities of Scofield, Price, Castle Dale, Emery, Green River, Hanksville, Manti, Richfield, Delta, Fillmore, Beaver, Cedar City, Milford, St. George, Kanab, Escalante, Bullfrog, Cove Fort, Koosharem, Fish Lake, Loa, Panguitch and Bryce Canyon.

Timing

From noon Monday through Tuesday evening.

Impacts

Showers and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rainfall are expected this afternoon and evening across the area. The threat for heavy rainfall will continue into the overnight hours, with additional showers and thunderstorms expected Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Heavy rainfall can lead to rapid onset of flooding, with some of the most prone areas being slot canyons, burn scars, normally dry washes and low water crossings. Water can rise quickly downstream of heavy rain, even when the actual thunderstorm is many miles away. Rock and mud slides, as well as water flowing across roadways, will be possible and could locally impact travel.

Precautionary, preparedness actions

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

The public 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: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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