Friday, July 10, 2015

Flash Flood on the Highway

As we were traveling home from a trip to the city, I noticed something looked strange on the highway far ahead, a light colored swath across the highway. What was it? It had to be water. We had seen some storm clouds, but the sky was currently only partly cloudy. A four-wheel drive truck flashed his lights at us when he passed, confirming there was something strange ahead. I slowed down, and soon we reached the water. I pulled over to take a closer look.

What we found was a culvert completely engulfed with water and a whirlpool. Further ahead, the water covered the highway. We could see that the water had been a little higher, so it was nice to know it was going down (and we weren't going to be washed away!).

The downstream side of the culvert showed a raging stream where usually there's no water at all.

 Usually I think of flash floods as being more in canyons, but we were many miles from canyons. Where it was nearly flat, a raging stream swept through the desert.

I wasn't sure how deep the water was on the highway in front of us, or if part of the highway had gotten washed away. We watched a semi slowly move through the water, and I was impressed with how high the water reached on the truck. I wasn't sure how our van would do, so I decided we would stay put a little longer.

Then we saw a pickup truck start going through at a slow speed. An SUV came roaring up to the water, the driver totally unaware that something unusual was going on. I watched her face as she showed surprise that there was water on the highway and slammed on the brakes. She was still going fast enough to make huge rooster tails as she plowed through the water.

We watched a driver from the other direction take it too fast, then decided we would follow a couple other cars.

The water was one to two inches deep, and I could feel the force of it pulling the van to the side of the road. We stayed in the middle of the road, the high spot, enjoying our slow progression through the water. Until some idiot from the other direction appeared, going way too fast and coating our van with muddy water. The kids heard an earful. And then repeated it.
Well, hopefully they learned a little about what to do and not to do in flash floods. Fortunately the highway didn't get washed away, but if you ever encounter water flowing over a highway, don't count on the highway necessarily still being intact! The power of water is immense, and we felt lucky to be able to see some of that.

1 comment:

G. Robison said...

Here in SoCal we know to NEVER enter running water on a road. Too easy to get washed away and wind up dead, miles away.

Besides, if you wait a few minutes, the way our rain usually comes and goes so fast, it will be totally gone.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates