OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Officials warn of flash flooding in national parks, here’s what to look out for

Jul 27, 2023, 11:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY -- The National Weather Service is warning national park visitors of possible flash ...

Buckskin Gulch, located in Kane County, has been the site of four fatalities in recent weeks due to flash floods. Photo credit: Steven Law

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Weather Service is warning national park visitors of possible flash flooding this week.   

National parks are a hot spot for nature lovers, especially in the summer months. However, this has led to tragedies when people arrive unprepared for sudden weather changes. Precipitation in any area of the park poses a threat to all areas. 

NWS Meteorologist Michael Wessler said in order to stay safe, we have to be proactive. 

 

Before you go

Wessler’s first piece of advice was to get the forecasts. The National Weather Service updates its forecasts for precipitation in slot canyons for this reason. 

Wessler also advised people to make responsible choices when planning their time outdoors.

“You may not see these showers or thunderstorms overhead that have the potential to cause flash flooding,” he said. “They could be miles away from you at the head of the basin and that water is going to come cascading down.”

How much precipitation can cause flash flooding?

These alerts don’t mean people should retreat at the first sight of rain. Wessler said the forecasts predict the likelihood of a flash flood in your area. 

The forecasts use words like not expected, possible, probable and expected to measure the hazard level. 

“That will guide you towards those days that are at the lowest risk,” he said. “Obviously being out and recreating in the outdoors is never zero risk.”

Though there is never zero risk, Wessler said there are common ways to reduce it. 

“Getting an early start on those sunny clear days is extremely important,” he explained. “A lot of times our convection really gets triggered by the warm summer afternoons.”

Wessler said although parks don’t inform visitors of possible flooding, rangers are a source for those concerned. They know their terrain and are usually keeping an eye on the forecasts. A quick chat with a ranger can point you in the right direction. 

Related: 

We want to hear from you.

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

Outdoors + Recreation

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased ...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Summit County to acquire largest open space in its history for $55 million

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased after grant funding is made available in 2025.

1 day ago

container garden shown...

Mitchell von Puttkammer

How to plant in a container garden

Maria, Taun, and their guest cover practical tips on how to successfully plant a vibrant container garden. Listen to the KSL Greenhouse show.

2 days ago

Life jackets are pictured at the Saratoga Springs Marina at Utah Lake on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022....

Curt Gresseth

Come on in, the water’s fine (but remember to wear a life jacket)

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation law enforcement chief shares his knowledge and experience with selecting the right life jacket and using it safely.

2 days ago

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation warns that drinking while operating a boat is illegal....

Emma Keddington

Expert wants boaters to know the rules about drinking on the water

Utah laws allow passengers to have open containers of alcohol on a boat. However, drinking and driving a boat is illegal.

2 days ago

Image of the camp formerly known as Camp Steiner, in Utah's high Uinta mountains. The camp, almost ...

Britt Johnson

A new name and a new beginning for Camp Steiner

For nearly 100 years, Camp Steiner has been used almost exclusively by scouting organizations. But that's about to change.

2 days ago

A quagga dip tank at Lake Powell, as a boat enters the tank to be decontaminated from quagga mussel...

Mike Anderson, KSLTV.com

DWR discovers more efficient way to decontaminate boats from quagga mussels

The solution the DWR developed is a dip tank that decontaminates the boats and kills quagga mussels. Boaters can run it through the system for only minutes before heading back out.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Officials warn of flash flooding in national parks, here’s what to look out for