Preparing for a Deluge
Always check the weather before going on vacation near a river or stream or a hike through a slot canyon, to camp, or fish. Turn on your local weather channel or check on phone to avoid heading into a storm.
Severe conditions are better weathered through on higher ground, in a safe, controlled environment where there is constant communication with regular updates. I cannot emphasize this enough!
Thunderstorms with heavy rain can cause severe flooding in canyons. These storms can be powerful and sudden. Water can rise quickly downstream from heavy rain, even when the parent thunderstorm is miles away!
If you are visiting an area during monsoon season:
- Know the weather forecast for your area as well as areas upstream.
- Finish hiking in the morning and be out of canyons or away from washes before the afternoon.
- Do not camp overnight or park your vehicle along/ near streams and washes.
If you are hiking in canyons or by water:
- Pay attention to water conditions. Leave the river area immediately if the water becomes muddy or begins rising!
- Stay out of flooded areas, as the water may still be rising and the current is swift.
- Flash flooding can happen at any low water crossing or dip – even on roads. Never drive into a flooded roadway – find an alternate route or be patient and wait for the flooding to stop.
Stormy skies are eerily mesmerizing but can be dangerous in one swift second! In 2015, 13 women and children were killed in a flash flood in Colorado City because they were too close to raging waters during a downpour. The flood waters also rushed through Southern Utah’s Zion National Park, killing seven hikers traveling through Keyhole Canyon.
Cloud formations quickly skitter, ever evolving, across the uppersphere. Be proactive. Stay away from raging water! In an hour, a trickle of water in a fairly dry riverbed can raise 8 feet and turn into a roaring river, taking the soil and trees with it while creating a new path.
People are counting on you to make good decisions.
So stay safe out there folks!