ST. GEORGE – The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a flash flood warning for east-central Washington County and the western portion of Kane County in Southern Utah. Southeastern Iron County is also placed under the flash flood warning that is active until 2:15 a.m. Tuesday.
At 8:08 p.m. Monday Doppler radar indicated a thunderstorm producing heavy rain over the North Fork of the Virgin River north of Zion National Park.
This thunderstorm has produced heavy rainfall for over two hours. Radar rainfall estimates include more than 3 inches over a wide area.
Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly. Flash flooding is expected in Zion National Park and Springdale.
Zion National Park tweeted that “The Narrows and all slot canyons are closed” because of the flash flood warning.
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.
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.