Be ready for flash flooding: Expert shares advice

Jun 28, 2022, 6:00 PM
High water in the Gardiner River along the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Montana, ...
High water in the Gardiner River along the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Montana, that washed out part of a road on Monday, June 13, 2022. (National Park Service via AP)
(National Park Service via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Do you know exactly what to do if caught in flash flooding. A Utah expert gives life-saving advice if you are trapped in floodwaters in your vehicle or at home.

Wade Mathews, of Utah Division of Emergency Management, joined Dave & Dujanovic to share his expertise on flash flooding, especially if you find yourself in your car or truck when it suddenly becomes enveloped in quick-running water.

Mathews said remember this always: Turn around, don’t drown. 

“Say that little phrase, Turn Around Don’t Drown, to help us remember what to do to be a survivor. And when faced with that danger, and then specifically if you’re in a car, same thing, Turn Around, Don’t Drown. But stay in the car if you’re caught in that situation,” Mathews said.

Dave Noriega pointed out that swiftly moving water packs a punch.

“We say 12 inches of fast-moving water can knock a person off their feet,” he said, “18 inches of fast-moving water can float a car.”

Check the weather for potential flash flooding

Mathews also reminded people who like to spend time in Utah’s backcountry, slot canyons or camping, fishing and hiking to check the weather forecast before you head out for your outdoor destination. Also, he advised, check the weather watches and warnings.

“A watch means things could happen; a warning means it’s imminent,” he said.

Dave pointed out that wildfires increase the chance of flash flooding. Because blazes can burn away vegetation, shrubs and trees that would otherwise slow or stop floodwaters.

“If you are in a situation that experienced a wildfire, what we call the wildland-urban interface on the foothills and up in the wooded areas. If there’s been a fire there, yes, there’s an increased risk of flash flooding or landslides, mudslides,” Mathews said.

Flash flooding at home

“Is there anything we should be prepared for in our homes when it comes to the potential for flash floods if you live in an area that’s recently experienced a fire and there’s burn scars?” asked Debbie Dujanovic.

“Oftentimes there’s not a lot of warning that your particular area is gonna get hit with flooding, but if you have some warning, [place] sandbags, barricades barriers . . . move expensive items to higher floors,” Mathews recommended.

“If I remember correctly, don’t communities, cities or counties don’t they have resources as far as like sandbags that you can access?” Dave asked.

Mathews said check in advance with your emergency management or public works agencies to see if they have sandbags available for residents.

“You know we’re entering monsoon season. We’re seeing thunderstorms this week. [There is] flash flooding potential in southern Utah [and] south-central Utah right now. Those folks ought to be checking into those types of resources,” he said.

Be prepared for all emergencies and disasters at


Do’s and Don’ts During a Flood


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Be Ready Utah

Fire Prevention Week across the U.S. has American Red Cross of Utah reminding resident to plan an e...
Waverly Golden

Be Ready Utah: Fire Prevention Week … are you prepared?

On this year's one-hundredth fire prevention week, the American Red Cross of Utah aims to inform residents of how to prepare for a home fire. 
4 months ago
red cross van...
Adam Small

Red Cross says now is the time to prepare of emergencies

On the heels of flash flooding in southern and eastern Utah, the Red Cross encourages all Utahns to prepare for a potential emergency.
5 months ago
Salt Lake City is joining a network with the goal to eliminate all traffic-related fatalities and s...
Heather Kelly

Preparing transportation plans in case of an emergency

Emergency preparedness means anticipating what you'll need in the future. By planning out transportation, you'll be one step ahead.
6 months ago
FILE: Christy Belt, Timpanogos Academy 5th grade teacher, engages in an exercise designed to help t...
Curt Gresseth

Preparing and training for school emergencies

A Be Ready Utah expert discusses preparing for school emergencies, the need to have a plan ready and a list of items needed to safely handle disasters.
6 months ago
Ford F-150 Lightning...
Dan Bammes

Range of options to power a house in times of emergency

The Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck offers an opportunity to power a house during times of emergency.
6 months ago
Road trips can be dangerous in the extreme heat....
Curt Gresseth

Extreme heat could make road trips treacherous, here’s an expert’s advice

Do you know what to bring when you take a road trip during extreme heat? One expert has tips if you are taking one in triple-digit temperatures.
6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Be ready for flash flooding: Expert shares advice