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Storms make tiny Southern Utah river biggest in state for one day

Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 21:19:59-04

VIRGIN, Utah -- The Utah Division of Water Resources says Utah is the second driest state in the nation after Nevada, so when a big rainstorm hits Utah's parched landscapes, the impact is profound.

On August 21, the Virgin River in the town of Virgin was running at a trickle with just 50 cubic feet of water flowing by each second. In most parts of the country, they'd call it a creek, or a brook.

But on August 22, after a pounding rainstorm, the Virgin grew to 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). For a short time, that made the Virgin the biggest river in the state, surpassing the Colorado which was flowing at about 2,900 cfs at the same time.

The Colorado is normally Utah's biggest river, though it is relatively small as it flows through Utah. It grows dramatically as it flows out of Utah through Arizona. At the Grand Canyon on Thursday afternoon, the Colorado flowed near 19,000 cfs.