Flash Flood Watch issues for Southern Utah counties

ST. GEORGE — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a “flash flood watch” for Kane, Garfield and Washington counties in effect from 12-10 p.m.

Increasing monsoonal moisture combined with daytime heating and a weather disturbance moving north from California will bring a threat for showers and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rainfall by midafternoon across far Southern Utah. These storms will continue into the evening hours before weakening.

Dots indicate the area subject to the flood watch,10:40 a.m., July 18, 2015 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge
Dots indicate the area subject to the flood watch,10:40 a.m., July 18, 2015 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge

Affected areas

Utah’s Dixie, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Zion National Park, south-central Utah, including St. George, Kanab and Escalante

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

Precautionary, preparedness actions

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.

Move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life.

Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway.  The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely.


READ MORE: I can’t believe I survived; video of flash flood crashing down on canyoneers


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

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


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.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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