It’s an El Niño year, and so despite the fact that we’re in a long term drought here in the Southwest, it’s been a rainy summer. Photographer David Rankin chases flash floods in Southern Utah, and captured this one on August 30th as it came down a normally dry wash and emptied into Lake Powell at the entrance to the Grand Canyon.
Rankin says this particular storm poured billions of gallons of water into the wash.
Flash floods can begin many miles away, and hikers get killed every year in narrow slot canyons when floods come pouring in, often 12 feet high or more, hurling boulders and tree trunks as they go.
In this case, the flood was coming down a wide wash, and it begins fairly slow, carrying loads of debris on its leading edge, then speeds up as it carries more water from the storm.
Here’s another of Rankin’s videos – this one of a flood coming down Johnson Canyon, about ten miles from where I live:
There are more from his YouTube page here.
P.S. Here’s another one from this time last year, taken by a visitor to Zion National Park as he and other hikers scramble to get out of the way of a flash flood coming down the Virgin River Narrows.