WEATHER

National Weather Service warns of flash flood risk for southern Utah

Jul 13, 2022, 8:15 AM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 10:39 am
A rock formation at Arches National Park is pictured. Flash flood risk in Arches is high....
Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park. Photo credit: Devon Dewey.

SALT LAKE CITY — An increased flash flood risk in southern Utah prompted the National Weather Service to warn people to be careful if they’re visiting the area’s national parks.

Glen Merrill, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake, said the potential for flash floods will increase throughout the week.

“So right now we’re getting the initial surge of monsoonal moisture working into primarily central and southern Utah,” said Merrill.

Where to look out for a flash flood in southern Utah

The Weather Service said the areas that are more likely to see flash flooding are slot canyons, normally dry areas and places where wildfires have burned away vegetation.

“If you get heavy rain in a steeper basin or a slot canyon area, you’re dealing with slick rock, no vegetation, all of the rainfall just runs off of the landscape,” Merrill said, adding “All of that rain, like a funnel, starts higher in the basin and funnels down through these narrow corridors where it all pools together and creates a flash flood.”

Merrill said heavy rain is likely to turn into a flash flood in slot canyons, even if it isn’t raining exactly where you are.

“You can be in terrain — like in a slot canyon — where it’s not even raining overhead, but it might be raining 10 miles away and all of that rainfall eventually comes down through the channel to where you’re at.”

Visiting a national park this week?

By Thursday, the National Weather Service is predicting flash floods will be probable in Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion National Park.

Merrill said if you’re going to a national park this week, check the weather before you leave and prepare for fast-moving water. He also recommended checking with park rangers when you get there and asking about the weather.

“Keep an eye to the sky when you go out and prior, gather as much weather information as you can,” Merrill said.

The Weather Service also recommended visitors to national parks create a plan for what to do if caught in a flash flood.

Related: Smoke from fires in Utah and beyond impacts western air quality

Today’s Top Stories

Weather

Flooding caused evacuations in the area of the Jacob City Fire burn scar. Photo courtesy of Stockto...
Mark Jackson

Evacuations for areas in the Jacob City Fire burn scar lifted early Sunday

A flash flood warning was issued Friday evening for Salt Lake County, according to the National Weather Service out of Salt Lake City.
4 days ago
Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Natural Resources...
Chandler Holt

Some Utah areas see slight drop in drought levels

A drought update from the Utah Division of Water Resources offers a glimpse of good news for Utah. Division spokesman Michael Sanchez says you can thank a good monsoonal season for a slight drop in the percentage of the state that is in extreme drought or worse
4 days ago
A lightning strike is pictured....
Samantha Herrera

Two Tooele houses struck by lightning in yesterday’s storm

TOOELE, Utah — Two houses were struck by lightning Wednesday night during a thunderstorm. Officials said there were no injuries, but some damage. Deputy Fire Chief Jed Colovich from the Tooele City Fire Department said one house had damage to its electrical outlets. The other house had damage to its sprinkler timer. Colovich said the […]
5 days ago
NWS predicts 'skier's delight' storm, but little impact on our snowpack, Utah's drought...
Mark Jones

Flash flood warning issued for Tooele County, lightning strikes houses

A flash flood warning has been issued for Tooele County on Wednesday evening. The country road in Soldier Canyon is expected to be impacted, creating a dangerous situation.
6 days ago
KSL NewsRadio File Photo...
Marilyn Deutsch

200-year-old tree explodes in Portland due to heat wave

The tree, along with residents, endured seven days of temperatures at 95 degrees or above. A branch that fell weighed roughly 30,000 pounds.
7 days ago
The water level at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, is at its lowest since it ...
Nouran Salahieh and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

More human remains discovered in Lake Mead’s receding waters

More human remains have been found in the receding waters of Lake Mead, authorities announced Saturday. This is the fourth time human remains have been found at Lake Mead National Recreation Area since May.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

National Weather Service warns of flash flood risk for southern Utah