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David Rankin/YouTube

Video: Local flash flood-chaser films largest event he's seen

By Martha Ostergar | Posted - Sep. 1, 2015 at 2:31 p.m.

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BIG WATER, Kane County — After 15 years of chasing flash floods, David Rankin said a storm in Southern Utah on Aug. 30 resulted in the biggest flash flood he's seen to date.

"It is rare to get one this size; 2.5 to 3 inches of rain fell over 25 to 30 square miles in around an hour," Rankin said. "That is about 1.5 billion gallons in an hour."

Rankin described the flood — which he filmed at Wahweap Wash with a drone — as "spectacular," with a debris load and speed he hasn't seen before. The video he posted of the flash flood certainly lives up to that description and then some, but it also shows how devastating and dangerous flash floods can be.

While this certainly isn't his first rodeo with flash floods, Rankin will be the first to tell you he's aware of the risks he takes and how it's important to be aware of your surroundings when hiking in areas prone to flash floods.

"It really illustrates how dangerous they are and how important it is to stay aware of forecasts and any National Weather Service warnings for your area, especially during the monsoon season," he said.

Rankin works in IT for the National Parks Service, and flash-flood chasing is more of a side hobby. He's sold flash flood footage to agencies such as National Geographic and Discovery Channel.

You can see more of Rankin's work on his website and his YouTube channel.

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Martha Ostergar


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