Watch An Enormous Flash Flood Form In an Instant, Carrying Thousands of Trees

Written by Kirstin Opal
Updated: October 10, 2022
© swa182/Shutterstock.com
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At the entrance to Snow Canyon State Park, there is a brief but thrilling hike called Johnson Canyon Trail. There is a natural spring there, as well as red rock walls, black lava flows, cottonwood and willow glades, and a striking arch near the end. The trail barely gains any elevation between the road and the arch; there are just a few small ascents and descents.

This beautiful area sees many hikers and recently experienced a terrifying natural disaster. Thankfully, a flood enthusiast caught what you’re about to see on camera! Few natural disasters are as terrifying as flash floods. 

In a matter of minutes, a wall of water containing hazardous debris could be barreling at you in a place that was dry and quiet just moments earlier. Many outdoor adventurers have been completely caught off guard by flash flooding, so it’s critical for campers, hunters, fishers, and hikers to be conscious of the dangers.

This incident from Johnson Canyon in Southern Utah a few years ago serves as a good example. This footage of a flash flood makes the dangers very evident. The waters of this massive flash flood are also moving quite quickly. No one wants to get caught in the deadly debris flow of jagged wooden trees there.

Fast Flooding

Flash floods are predicted, pursued, and documented on camera by Reed Timmer. His clip from 2017 shows a flash flood bringing water and debris. According to Timmer, a wash at the top of the canyon was overwhelmed by a huge flash flood as a result of heavy rain, flooding a neighboring road.

Timer also mentions that flash floods get their name from their fast arrival and sometimes imperceptible warning indicators. According to him, radar showed that more than three inches of water fell in an hour in the area north of the canyon, creating “a monster.”

History of Local Flooding

When the 1889 Johnstown Flood reached Johnstown, there was a half mile of debris in its path. Many individuals were stuck in the debris as it became tangled on the Stone Bridge, and the pile later caught fire. Eighty of the 2,208 fatalities in the disaster died in the debris fire, which took three days to put out. When it was dismantled, the rubble heap’s size was determined to be 30 acres.

Thankfully, the 2017 flash flood wasn’t anywhere near as harmful. A comment under Timmer’s video states, “What surprised me was how quiet the flood was when the grade was not steep even when there was all that debris in the flood.” They make a good point! You would think it’d be a lot louder, which makes it even more terrifying to anything in its path. 

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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