Monday, July 22, 2013

Great Flashflood Video from David Rankin

It's that time of the year in the American Southwest - the annual summer monsoon. Just the other night Helen and I drove back from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and witnessed a stupendous storm cell that moved southwest over the San Francisco Peaks and down to the western Mogollon Rim. The lightning was ,well... electric... and sheets of rain fell on us for a full 20 miles from Kendrick Park to the city of Flagstaff. Our windshield wipers could not keep up with the spend that the rain fell. We heard from friends at Phantom Ranch in the canyon that Bright Angel Creek flashed on the night of July 20. It is a great time to be on the Colorado Plateau!

David Rankin

My friend and colleague in Page, AZ, David Rankin has been chasing flash floods with his video camera for years and seems to have perfected the art of predicting what drainages will flash, when they will arrive at a certain place, and then putting himself in position to film them. I have been enjoying his work for years but these new clips from an event that occurred on Wahweap Creek on July 18 of this year are especially informative and entertaining.

WARNING: Do not attempt these stunts at home! David has been watching flash floods for years and knows the inherent dangers and places himself in a position where he can escape if need be. Notice that none of these shots are in closed or confined canyons. They are all in open ground where there is an avenue of escape.

You can view the clips here. This is flash flood video like you've never seen it before! Note how slow the head of the flood seems to be moving. This is because of the "wall" of debris that acts to slow the front end down. Note that the ground where the flood arrives is not wet - it did not rain in this location at all. These are powerful events and we are lucky to see them this way. Thanks Dave!

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