Thursday, September 9, 2021

Flash Flood near Baker, Nevada

On August 1, 2021, we noticed a small rainstorm. However, it wasn't small everywhere. We were notified that Nevada Highway 487 north of Baker, Nevada had water flowing across it. What? This isn't an area known for flash floods. We had to go take a look.

My husband and I were eager to go, but the kids had to be persuaded. We told them they might not get to see flash flooding like this again. However, it seems that with climate change, extreme weather is becoming more and more common, and two times in later August there were big floods near Gandy, Utah. 

The road had a good amount of water going across it, with quite a few bushes in the middle of the highway. Traffic was stopped at both ends.

Water was running in some gullies, but in a lot of places, it was just running across the land.

This meant that instead of the water going through culverts, it crossed the road in wide swaths. Here's the Baker Cutoff road, when it was just one stream crossing the road.

The water appeared to be going into a field near the Baker Archeological Site.

I dropped off my husband so he could go check on fields, then I went back. Now there were two streams crossing the Baker Cutoff Road.

It was impressive watching the muddy water cascade off the downhill side of the highway.

In an hour or so, the water started receding (although in the photo below you can see the skies dumping water on other places in the valley).

This is a view of the Baker Cutoff Road from Highway 487.

Before too long (about an hour or so), the water had receded quite a bit.

It was obvious something different had happened.

Quite a few big rocks were on the road, so I started moving them off.

Some folks towing an RV and wanting to get home were happy to help.

The fence had caught quite a bit of debris.

So many rocks were moved.

Another view of a fence.

People started driving through the water.

Meanwhile, the flooding may have contributed to a motor vehicle accident.

NDOT sent out a crew and they started work right away.

The road was quite muddy in places.

Later that evening, another band of clouds came in.

We could see another downpour and worried about more flooding.

Sure enough, the next morning there was more debris on the road, but in a slightly different place than the night before.

Nevada Highway 488, which leads from Baker up to Great Basin National Park, also flooded, trapping cars for over an hour. 

The water created some big gullies next to the highway, which are still there nearly a month later. A recent accident almost resulted in the driver going into the gully (see skid marks below), but fortunately they went off the road in a less steep place.

Flash floods are impressive, exciting, and scary. Fortunately most people seemed to be respectful of the recent ones. The adage, "Turn around, don't drown," is a good one to remember.


Carolyn said...

They had 17 inches of rain, 2 counties west of Nashville. It backed up behind a railroad track and then broke through onto the town of Waverly. If you google "Waverly time lapse" you can see what happened in 12 minutes. It is in real time, not speeded up.

Unknown said...

Wow, Carolyn, that was quite a video! I'm so glad that it wasn't that intense out here. There was more flash flooding last night in Tule Valley, with water covering the highway again. I don't remember a summer with so much flash flooding around here.

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