ST. GEORGE — Heavy rain over southwest Garfield County and central Kane County is creating flash flood potential in area towns and hiking destinations. Rain in southern Nevada is also leading to the possibility of minor flooding along Interstate 15 near Mesquite, Nevada.
The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a flash flood warning for the areas affected in Utah until 9:15 p.m. MDT Thursday.
Just after 3 p.m. Thursday, Doppler radar indicated a thunderstorm producing heavy rain over the Paria River drainage, according to the National Weather Service. Over 1 inch of rain has fallen in the headwater areas, and additional thunderstorms are propagating downstream.
The lower end of this drainage has several flash flood-prone areas that are popular hiking destinations, including in Kodachrome Basin State Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument stretching south to the Utah-Arizona border. Several towns within the advisory area are also expected to experience flooding, including Henrieville, Tropic and Cannonville.
A flood advisory is in effect for southern Nevada until 5:45 p.m. PDT / 6:45 p.m. PDT Thursday.
Heavy rain in the area is expected to cause minor flooding in Mesquite and Bunkerville. This includes Interstate 15 in Nevada between mile markers 114 and 120.
Remain alert for flooding even in locations not receiving rain. Dry washes, streams and rivers can become raging killer currents in a matter of minutes, even from distant rainfall.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service offer the following safety rules for flash flooding:
- 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 1 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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