UTAH – There are few natural disasters more frightening than a flash flood. An area can be dry and calm one moment and within a few minutes, a wall of water carrying a dangerous debris may be coming right at you. Flash flooding has caught more than a few people completely off guard during their outdoor adventures and it is important for campers, hunters, fishermen, and hikers to be aware of the dangers.
Case in point is this incident from Southern Utah’s Johnson Canyon a few years ago. This flash flood video shows the dangers quite clearly. This monster flash flood not only has incredibly swift waters. It also has a dangerous debris flow of sharp wooden trees that no one wants to be caught in.
Once you see something like this, you will better understand the dangers and why officials urge so much caution and issue flash flood warnings when conditions are ripe.
What an amazing moment to be caught on camera. Even if a person could keep their head above water in the middle of this deluge, wooden debris would embed itself in their skin and cut them up badly. Even when there is no debris, this type of flood is extremely dangerous. The National Weather Service says that this type of flooding kills more people than other types of serve weather.
The NWS recommends avoiding low-lying areas and heading for higher ground. They also recommend not trying to drive through fast-moving waters. Because severe weather like this can wash out a road and make it deeper than it looks. If your vehicle stalls out or gets stuck, you could drown.
While flash floods occur more often in deserts and other areas where rainstorms are scarce like Arizona or New Mexico, floodwaters like this can occur anywhere. All it takes is a little heavy rain in an area low enough for the heavy rain to flow. Keep this in mind the next time you are out exploring the wilds or your favorite National Park and hear thunderstorms on the horizon.