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Thread: Keyhole flash flood deaths

  1. #101
    I was thinking more about David Rankin's analysis...and the time displayed isn't Utah time, it's off by an hour. So I was wrong: the storm did hit keyhole between 4:40 and 5, like NPS stated. David mentioned that at one point in the video and I missed it. Sorry for the confusion.

    Also, the storm may not have moved "north" to keyhole--David may be misinterpreting precipitation data. The more likely explanation is a storm front was coming in from the west (as is typical in Utah), and it was angled like a "\", which makes the precipitation appear to move "north". Given that Colorado City and Keyhole are roughly 25 miles apart as the bird flies, and the flooding was roughly 25 minutes apart....that storm system would have to be moving north at sixty miles an hour, which is unlikely.

    Apologies if anyone finds this tedious; I'm just interested in the timeline/conditions, and whether or not this was "bad luck" or inexperience, or a combination of the two. i think most likely both, but I can't help but ponder if I would have made the same mistake

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  3. #102
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    much closer to 15 miles apart from where the storm hit in Colorado City.
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  4. #103
    Just wondering if anyone in the group has ever been caught in a flash flood. If so,what were the circumstances and what did you do to get out of it? I realize the sheer volume and force of the water must be so powerful, but if it happened in the Narrows for instance, any chance you could float/swim on top until you could get to safety?

  5. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by hikemasterpa View Post
    Just wondering if anyone in the group has ever been caught in a flash flood. If so,what were the circumstances and what did you do to get out of it? I realize the sheer volume and force of the water must be so powerful, but if it happened in the Narrows for instance, any chance you could float/swim on top until you could get to safety?
    I've never been in one, but the few videos/pictures I've seen of canyons in zion flashing lead me to believe if you're in the water, you are super, super dead.

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  7. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by oldno7 View Post
    much closer to 15 miles apart from where the storm hit in Colorado City.
    I measured on google maps; ~25 miles as the bird files.

  8. #106
    Just wondering if anyone in the group has ever been caught in a flash flood.
    I haven't, but my dad and brother did (more than 25 years ago). My other brother and I crossed the creek in Dark Canyon and minutes late it was a raging torrent that hit my dad and brother. My dad lost his glasses, but otherwise, no real harm was done. Dark Canyon is a wide canyon though, it would have been different if it were a slot canyon.

    I have witnessed several other flash floods (Including the gigantic floods of 2006), but I've never been caught in them.

    The more likely explanation is a storm front was coming in from the west (as is typical in Utah), and it was angled like a "\", which makes the precipitation appear to move "north"
    Actually almost all monsoon moisture comes from the south:




    Monsoon moisture almost never comes from the west. You seem to be confusing frontal passages (which usually do come from the west [or NW or SW]) with monsoonal moisture. They both produce precipitation, but for different reasons.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  9. #107
    Quote Originally Posted by hikemasterpa View Post
    Just wondering if anyone in the group has ever been caught in a flash flood. If so,what were the circumstances and what did you do to get out of it?
    Depends on what you mean by "caught".

    I have witnessed literally hundreds of flash floods. At one time I owned a 32' off-shore racing cigarette and one of our favorite pass times was running down thunderstorms on lake Powell and watching the canyons flash.

    I've probably witnessed a couple dozen flash floods while canyoneering including the Black Hole, Buckskin, Leprechaun, Spry, Echo and Pine Creek to name a few. Usually commonsense tells you when it's a good time to find a good hiding spot and wait out the storm. When a canyon flashes the flood is usually short lived. Often over in 60 minutes.

    I have also canyoneered Pine Creek and the Black Hole on the tail end of a flash flood and its actually very fun as the water is bathtub warm from flowing over the slickrock, everything is filled with water and the bubbles (we called it Indian soap when I was a kid) can be 10' deep and zero visibility. When we did Pine Creek the ranger was standing on the bridge screaming at us to stop or we would die (we pretended not to hear).

    Also not all flash floods are huge monsters. While hiking Paria one caught us and it was actually kind of cute as the canyon was about 20' wide and the wall of water was about 2' high. There was very little debris in the water and we just stood our ground. It was moving slow enough we could have out run it downstream for a distance if required.

    Anyhoo.... that's some of my experience.

  10. #108
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidjan View Post
    I measured on google maps; ~25 miles as the bird files.
    I get 14.5 miles on Topo!

    Tom

  11. #109
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidjan View Post
    Also, the storm may not have moved "north" to keyhole--David may be misinterpreting precipitation data.
    ???

    Perhaps you did not watch the video.

    David steps through the data which clearly shows the storm moving from Hildale north to Keyhole.

    ???

    Tom

  12. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by ratagonia View Post
    ???

    Perhaps you did not watch the video.

    David steps through the data which clearly shows the storm moving from Hildale north to Keyhole.
    I watched it repeatedly.

    That's a precipitation layer on the map, not the direction in which a storm front is actually moving. Think of a storm moving west to east shaped like a "\" hitting mountains running vertically (which is pretty much every range in Utah except Uintas, and also this area as well); on a precipitation layer it's going to look like it's moving from south to north, but the cloud front is moving west to east.

    I think I'm likely wrong based on the monsoon comments (thanks for that, by the way--good info), but it isn't clearly evident the storm is moving north because that's a precipitation layer, not cloud cover.

    The reason I care is I think most people in Utah are going to anticipate stuff coming in from the west, not the south.

  13. #111
    Yep, I remeasured--I stand corrected: ~15 miles

  14. #112
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidjan View Post
    I watched it repeatedly.

    That's a precipitation layer on the map, not the direction in which a storm front is actually moving. Think of a storm moving west to east shaped like a "\" hitting mountains running vertically (which is pretty much every range in Utah except Uintas, and also this area as well); on a precipitation layer it's going to look like it's moving from south to north, but the cloud front is moving west to east.

    I think I'm likely wrong based on the monsoon comments (thanks for that, by the way--good info), but it isn't clearly evident the storm is moving north because that's a precipitation layer, not cloud cover.

    The reason I care is I think most people in Utah are going to anticipate stuff coming in from the west, not the south.
    "It's a precipitation layer, not a storm." (paraphraseish)

    I think you are trying really, really hard to miss the obvious.

    Did the storm (aka precipitation layer) just north of Hildale dissipate, and then another storm (aka precipitation layer) swoop suddenly in and suddenly appear BOOM 15 miles to the north, 25 minutes later.

    I realize the data is jumpy, but the storm moved north onto Hildale, and then continued north onto Keyhole.

    Not sure where you live, but down here in Zion, the weather usually comes from the South (ish), maybe South-SouthWest. Usually. Can come from other directions, but most of them, on the radar timelapse, come from the SSW.

    I just don't see what you are seeing or maybe, i don't understand how you are not seeing what seems obvious...

    Tom

  15. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    When we did Pine Creek the ranger was standing on the bridge screaming at us to stop or we would die (we pretended not to hear).

  16. #114
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    Monsoon storms that hit Southern Utah, have a habit of coming from the South.

    On occasion, slightly South west.

    I don't recall any monsoon season storms coming directly from the West.

    Our Monsoonal moisture by definition, comes from the the Gulf of Mexico, pretty much South of us.

    A low pressure, oscillating across the four corners region, directs this flow.

    Back on topic, these canyoneers last chance to view the Southern skies was at the saddle, prior to dropping in.

    Any storm system South of highway 9 at the first rappel, would be impossible to see.

    Jim said when he started in and passed this group, the sky was blue, I trust/believe Jim's observation.

    Not sure what point you're trying to make(kidjan) but it appears unfounded.

    Northern Utah weather patterns are not Southern Utah weather patterns.
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  17. #115
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    on a related note--I've backed out of many canyons due to threats of rain.

    The most painful decision was at the crossroads in Imlay.(0% chance)

    We backed out and it rained on us all the way down, at times hard.

    Go/No go decisions, need to be based on current, viewable "canyon/drainage" conditions,

    For me, afternoon canyons are always a no go, during monsoon.

    Some canyon's drainage's cannot be entirely seen such as White.
    I'm not Spartacus


    Boycotting imlay canyon gear because I value access

    Professional Mangler of Grammar

    Guns don't kill people--Static Ropes Do!!

    Who Is John Galt?

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  19. #116
    That's a precipitation layer on the map, not the direction in which a storm front is actually moving. Think of a storm moving west to east shaped like a "\" hitting mountains running vertically (which is pretty much every range in Utah except Uintas, and also this area as well); on a precipitation layer it's going to look like it's moving from south to north, but the cloud front is moving west to east.
    No offence, but you do not understand weather. Monsoonal moisture is not a storm front. A frontal passage is a boundary between two air masses of different densities and temperature. That is not what causes monsoonal moisture. Monsoonal moisture comes from clockwise rotation around a high pressure system along a thermal low. If a high pressure system is centered around Oklahoma and Texas, clockwise rotation pulls up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California. That's why monsoonal moisture comes from the south. Occasionally, monsoonal moisture can collide with a cold front coming from the northwest and then you have a big storm, but that's not what happened here.

    The moisture came from the south as does almost all monsoonal moisture. The only way monsoonal moisture could come from the west is if the Gulf of Mexico was somehow made into land and if the high pressure system was positioned over the western or central part of it.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  20. #117
    Quote Originally Posted by kidjan View Post
    I measured on google maps; ~25 miles as the bird files.
    I measured on Nat. Geo. TOPO. Close to 15 miles.

    During warmer months sunlight heats the surfaces of both land and oceans, but land temperatures rise more quickly. As the land's surface becomes warmer, the air above it expands and an area of low pressure develops. Meanwhile, the ocean remains at a lower temperature than the land, and the air above it retains a higher pressure. This difference in pressure causes sea breezes to blow from the ocean to the land, bringing moist air inland. This moist air rises to a higher altitude over land and then it flows back toward the ocean (thus completing the cycle). However, when the air rises, and while it is still over the land, the air cools. This decreases the air's ability to hold water, and this causes precipitation over the land. This is why summer monsoons cause so much rain over land.

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  22. #118
    Quote Originally Posted by ratagonia View Post
    "It's a precipitation layer, not a storm." (paraphraseish)

    I think you are trying really, really hard to miss the obvious.

    Did the storm (aka precipitation layer) just north of Hildale dissipate, and then another storm (aka precipitation layer) swoop suddenly in and suddenly appear BOOM 15 miles to the north, 25 minutes later.

    I realize the data is jumpy, but the storm moved north onto Hildale, and then continued north onto Keyhole.

    Not sure where you live, but down here in Zion, the weather usually comes from the South (ish), maybe South-SouthWest. Usually. Can come from other directions, but most of them, on the radar timelapse, come from the SSW.

    I just don't see what you are seeing or maybe, i don't understand how you are not seeing what seems obvious...

    Tom
    In my carefree hanggliding years 1970-1979, we looked for forming cumulus clouds (the puffy ones with a flat bottom). These clouds were an indication of of updraft generally somewhere close to directly underneath, but not always! Often times the winds not underneath blew in a direction away from the cloud, however when approaching closer to underneath the cloud, generally the winds blew towards the cloud, i.e. the winds in the "monsoonal" uplift near Hildale may have been coming westerly, northerly or even easterly bringing other lower clouds appearing on the radar those directions. Still....the monsoonal moisture associated with the torrential microbursts came from the south.

  23. #119
    Quote Originally Posted by ratagonia View Post
    "It's a precipitation layer, not a storm." (paraphraseish)

    I think you are trying really, really hard to miss the obvious.
    I'm not trying to "miss the obvious" (it's not like I start my mornings out trying to be oblivious); I'm trying to understand things. I'm open to the possibility that I'm wrong.

    My only point is a precipitation layer doesn't necessarily indicate the direction in which something is moving. If such a thing were true, there would be a permanent cloud front sitting over the costal range of Oregon, but it's just west -> east moving cloud fronts depositing rain as they strike the coastal range.

    It doesn't matter much. I think most likely explanation is monsoonal.

  24. #120
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott P View Post
    No offence, but you do not understand weather.
    I don't take offense to anything.

    Monsoonal moisture is not a storm front.
    I never said that it was. What I am trying to say: a precipitation layer does not necessarily imply the directional movement of a storm. However, for the now fourth time, I agree it's most likely monsoonal weather patterns moving north.

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