Flash flooding is one of the many dangers of monsoon storms, especially because they can happen miles away from where there was a downpour.
Jerry Irish captured video of such a flash flood in Globe.
He was right there Wednesday when muddy water came pouring down a dry wash or creek bed, pushing branches and debris ahead of it. That flood was the result of heavy rain to the north.
Irish's video shows just how fast flash flooding happens. The area went from dry to flooded in literally seconds.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Monsoon 2018]
Last July, flash flooding north of Payson killed 10 members of a family, five of them children, who were at a popular swimming hole. About 1.5 inches of rain fell in about 20 minutes on an area that had been burned by a wildlfire. Nine bodies were recovered relatively quickly. It was several days before the remains of the 10th victim was found.
“Flash Flooding occurs so quickly that people are caught off-guard,” according to the National Weather Service.
A flash flood is a flood that happens within six hours – usually much less, even mere minutes – of heavy rainfall.
“The normally tranquil streams and creeks in your neighborhood or area can become raging torrents if heavy rain falls overhead -- or even upstream of your location!” the NWS explains on Weather.gov. “Flash Flooding can also occur on city streets and highway underpasses.”
When there’s a lot of rain in a short time, flash flooding becomes a possibility. The rain comes down faster than the soil can absorb it or perhaps that ground is already saturated. It also happens when man-made drainage systems cannot keep with Mother Nature.
In many flash floods, the water might appear to be deceptively shallow. The flow is fast and strong, though, and the levels can rise quickly.
The NWS advises people to avoid crossing any flash flood with the tagline, “Turn around. Don’t drown.”
The water does not have to be deep to be dangerous. As little as 6 inches can knock you off your feet, according to the NWS.
“Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard …,” according to the NWS.
Don’t think you’re safe because you’re in your car.
“Almost half of all flash flood fatalities occur in vehicles,” an NWS fact sheet explains. “Many people do not realize two feet of water on a bridge or highway can float most vehicles. If the water is moving rapidly, the car, truck, or SUV can be swept off the bridge and into the creek or downstream with the flowing water.”
Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.