Gov. Mike Leavitt and officials of the National Weather Service unveiled a new flash flood warning system Thursday that will help hikers know when to stay out of narrow canyons in southern Utah. It is the first of its kind in the country.
Starting Monday and continuing through the middle of September, flash flood ratings will be issued twice daily for southern Utah. They will continuously update the danger rating for the following two days. Recreationists will be able to discover if the rating is "little to low risk," or if the danger is "moderate," "high" or "very high."William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Salt Lake regional forecast center, said Internet users can find predictions at the Web site (http://nimbo.wrh.noaa.gov/saltlake). Users should click on the hydrology section and scroll to "flash flood potential rating."
Alder noted that about half of the 138 people killed yearly in flash floods throughout the country make the mistake of trying to drive through moving water and their vehicles stall.
Dave Toronto, warning coordinator meteorologist, said the coverage area will be from I-70 to the border with Arizona. That will be divided into two sections. The first includes Capitol Reef National Park and eastern Utah, the second everything west of Capitol Reef.