Aerial drone captures footage of flash flood in southern Utah

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jun 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-08 20:46:40-04

SOUTHERN UTAH – National Park Service employee David Rankin captured this video just north of Lake Powell, near Big Water, Utah on Saturday, just as a flash flood was coming through the area.

"Off in the distance, you hear this rumbling noise, and just, every time, it just gives me chills,” he said. “It's amazing to watch a dry wash just turn into a raging river in seconds."

Rankin was shooting in the remote backcountry region of southern Utah. He said while a lot of these floods don't impact local residents, it’s still important for tourists and hikers to be aware of how quickly floods can hit.

“This weekend, when these floods were coming, there were tourists out in the backcountry that got stranded for hours - seven to eight hours - because they had crossed this wash when it was dry, and when they returned, it was a raging torrent,” he said.

Monica Traphagan with the National Weather Service, said the rains over the weekend were remnants of the tropical hurricane Andreas in the Eastern Pacific.

She said the soil in the desert cannot absorb the water quickly enough, so that's what causes the water to become a raging river.

“Just be really aware because this is something that comes on quickly,” Traphagan said. “And you're not necessarily going to have time to get out necessarily in time, and that's when we sometimes have fatalities from this."

One look at Rankin's YouTube channel shows how fascinated he is by the storms.

“It's indescribable,” he said. “It's just an amazing thing to witness."

The National Weather Service says, while capturing video of the flooding may look like fun, it’s actually quite dangerous. Rankin is a professional and knows how to do it safely, so they don't recommend people try this at home.