Jul 032014
 
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Dew point temperatures across Arizona will move higher over the next few days. This means more widespread thunder showers across the area. A friend of mine, TB, was mentioning his plans to hike around one of the creek beds near Sedona for the 4th of July. Flash flooding is a serious issue in the desert. Here are some flash flooding safety rules from the National Weather Service (in Ohio?):

  1. In hilly terrain, flash floods can strike with little or no advance warning. Distant rain may be channeled into gullies and ravines, turning a quiet stream into a rampaging torrent in minutes. Never camp on low ground next to streams since a flash flood can catch you while you’re asleep.
  2. Do not cross flowing stream on foot where water is above your ankles.
  3. If you are driving, don’t try to cross water-filled areas of unknown depths. If your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and go to higher ground. Rapidly rising water may sweep the vehicle and its occupants away. Many deaths have been caused by attempts to move stalled vehicles.
  4. Be especially cautious at night. It’s harder to recognize water danger then.
  5. Don’t try to out race a flood on foot. If you see or hear it coming, move to higher ground immediately.
  6. Be familiar with the land features where you live, work, and play. It may be in a low area , near a drainage ditch or small stream, or below a dam. Be prepared!
  7. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest statements, watches and warnings concerning heavy rain and flash flooding in your area, report it to the National Weather Service.

I’m bugged by the fact that a quick search for “flash flood” on the NWS Flagstaff website didn’t turn up a document like this. Something that isn’t stressed in this list that is very important is that the storm can be far away and cause a flash flood where you are. Be aware of the weather upstream from your location. A small creek bed can be the sole drainage for hundreds of thousands of acres. If you are in a canyon, you may not be able to even see the storm. They do have a good webpage set up for monitoring the area around the Slide Fire.

Here is the North American Mesoscale precipitation model outlook through midday on Sunday.

Total precipitation from July 3 to July 6, 2014 from the North American Mesoscale Model at the Climate Prediction Center.

Total precipitation from July 3 to July 6, 2014 from the North American Mesoscale Model at the Climate Prediction Center.

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