Ever Been in a Flash Flood?

Ever Been in a Flash Flood?

2014 July 28: Watching the radar and an approaching thunderstorm.

Tired from storm chasing the previous evening, we decided to casually venture out in the desert south of Las Vegas for a little exploration of the Colesseum Mine south of Primm, Nevada along the California and Nevada border.  The day was amazing and we could see cumulous build up on the horizon as far as the eye could see.  Heading towards the Colesseum Mine we traveled up the road, which at times appeared more like a wash, and could see there were thunderstorm cells developing around us that appeared to be tracking our way.  Radar confirmed what we were seeing visually. We didn’t spend much time at the Colesseum Mine and decided to make our way down the mountain before the storm arrived in force.  It seemed like the moment we decided to leave the area and move to a safety zone, the flash flood warnings started coming from the National Weather Service twitter feed.  We were in the warning area and it was going to get interesting.

Bumping around in the desert following a storm, it is always better to be early than to be late.  If you anticipate something happening like the impending deluge of rain, take action early because taking action later can lead to undesirable results.  I should mention that we have been running around the desert chasing these monsoon storms for many years and have developed a good sense of situational awareness and tactics.

We were on our way out long before the rain started to fall.  The storm poured rain and delivered vivid lightning as we traveled down the mountain towards high ground.  There were several reasons why we didn’t sit at the top of the mountain and wait, not to mention we were in a box canyon which would only lead to a bad situation should we have stayed.  At one point along our journey, we got hit with some pea sized hail.  We eventually made it to a safe place and watched the storm pass then waited for the flood waters to subside.  While waiting, the storm flooded out a section of the interstate heading towards California.  The exit was under water and is pretty much the only exit out of the area unless you know the back roads to Vegas.

We drove towards Sandy Valley on the Kingston Road navigating several water crossings.  It took us a little time to get down the road but we enjoyed the amazing mojave desert along the way to Sandy Valley.  Upon arriving in Goodsprings, Nevada we were informed the highway heading north to Vegas was still closed at the Jean exit.  We took a backroad to Vegas and watched some amazing lightning along the way eventually making it to the highway and meandering through town to get back home.