VIDEO: See how quickly a flash flood can rise
This 2013 video from Utah Moto Trails shows firsthand how quickly a flash flood in a Utah canyon can rise:
From their blog description:
Normally the canyon is dry as there are very few areas for water to accumulate. If there is a storm the water tends to drain quickly so the hiking is easy and pretty drama free. This time however, we hiked the canyon with a %20 chance of rain. The day prior there was zero percent but being out of internet coverage that day left us a bit unprepared. The %20 panned out and we got a quick burst of rain that flooded the canyon…shows how quickly things can get ugly as we were running back to find some less skilled hikers we had left behind. Luckily my wife knew what to do and when the rain started they found an opening slightly upstream from where they were to wait it out on higher ground. I was with my brother and my 2 boys and we were very relieved to see them safe in the opening after running back.
The canyon (Little Wild Horse Canyon) is one of the most popular ‘slot’ canyon hikes in Utah.
Tips for avoiding flash floods
- Avoid dry riverbeds where possible and NEVER camp in a dry river, no matter how dry the weather forecast is
- Plan escape routes if hiking and trekking in canyons and gorges and know where your nearest one is
- Pay attention to weather forecasts, but plan for the possibility that they will be incorrect
- Be aware of any dam or sluice releases upstream of where you are