Flash flood watch issued for Washington, Kane, Garfield counties

This September 2015 file photo shows the aftermath of flash flooding that claimed the life of at least 13 women and children in Hildale, Utah, Sept. 15, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued an urgent flash flood watch for Washington, Garfield and Kane counties in effect through Thursday evening.

Dots indicate the area subject to the flood warning, 10:05 a.m., Southern Utah, Sept. 29, 2016 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge
Dots indicate the area subject to the flood warning, 10:05 a.m., Southern Utah, Sept. 29, 2016 | Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge

Affected areas

Portions of central and eastern Utah, roughly southeast of a line from Kanab to Price. This includes Capitol Reef National Park, Glen Canyon Recreation Area-Lake Powell, Canyonlands National Park, Castle Country and San Rafael Swell, including the cities of Price, Castle Dale, Emery, Green River, Hanksville, Kanab, Escalante and Bullfrog.

Impacts

Another round of heavy showers and thunderstorms is forecast to occur later Thursday afternoon and Thursday evening.

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: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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