Moving water is an extremely powerful and earth-shaping force of nature. It can also be quite lethal. According to NOAA, over a 30-year average (1979-2008) flash floods have killed more people than any other weather-related natural disaster in the US. With that in mind, here are two remarkable video clips of flash floods that came to my attention via Rebecca Hunt-Foster’s Dinochick Blog. The videos were shot by David Rankin of Rankinstudio.com who keeps close watch on the local weather in southern Utah, and whenever heavy rains occur, runs out with camera in hand to capture the amazing power and erosion of the resultant flash floods, that drag along everything that gets in their way. This explanation of the phenomenon and why it interests him is from his website:

“1 inch of rain over 1 square mile amounts to over 17.38 million gallons of water that need to be drained. Some of the floods in these videos were produced when 2 - 4 inches of rain fell over 30 - 60 square miles, over a few billion gallons of water draining down one wash in the desert. These washes are usually bone dry for most of the year until the monsoon rains come. They can turn into raging torrents within minutes and are very dangerous during this time of year. If there hasn't been much local heavy downpour the floods come through looking like a tsunami with a wall of water that can get up to 5 feet high, and tear up everything in its way. This is what you see happening in these videos. I am also interested in raising awareness when it comes to these beasts. They are quite dangerous, and can come through up to 6 hours after the storms that create them pass by with almost no warning.” – David Rankin

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Thor's picture
Thor says:

Years ago, I was on a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon during the September rainy season. A flash flood was tearing through the Deer Creek slot canyon the day we floated by. The surge of water was kicking up a dust cloud that was four or five stories high. The sound of boulders, tree trunks and other debris being rattled through the canyon was louder than any rock (music) show I've ever been to (including Ted Nugent).

posted on Thu, 04/15/2010 - 1:11pm
shanai's picture
shanai says:

When I was 18 my friend and I were driving and got caught in a really bad downpour. We pulled off to the side of the road and went inside a restaurant to wait it out. After about 45 minutes we got tired of waiting and decided to just keep driving, but when we got in the car and started out of the parking lot, we got swept up in a flash flood current and ended up sinking into a deep ditch - we had to climb out of the car before it sank completely underwater! After another 2 hours the water subsided.

posted on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 7:45am

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