The Chocolate Falls

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, rokinon 14mm 2.8, f/18, iso 50, 5 seconds // buy print)

Word of a flash flood hitting the Little Colorado river in northern Arizona Saturday evening changed everything I had planned for Sunday. My buddy Dee Nichols and I had been waiting for something like this for awhile, and it meant being in Grand Falls Sunday night and likely camping out.

The falls were dry when we arrived, aside from some pools of water still lingering from previous floods. Dee predicted when the water would arrive and it came 25 minutes early. Sadly, it was pitch black out, no moon and it was practically impossible to see the flood come in from up on the high cliffs.

The sound though…was amazing. Like someone had opened up a valve upstream.

Here is a shot from this morning. Lyla and I camped out in the back of the 4Runner, woke up before sunrise to get some shots of the falls before heading home. No luck with color or cool clouds, but all that might do is take away from the beauty of the water. Dirty, muddy water that is churned up sediment from the rush of a flash flood. Misty spray from the falls coating our tripods, cameras and vehicles in what one might think was a light coat of brown spray paint.

Also notice the debris pool spinning in a big circle . Awesomeness.

I have some before and after videos, plus more images, to come at a later date.

Flash floods in southern Arizona

Friday afternoon and Saturday were some pretty eventful storm days for southeastern Arizona. I was down there both days chasing storms, lightning…etc…but something I wasn’t really thinking about were flash floods.

The deserts are usually very, very dry, so when you get a massive downpour of rain, it doesn’t seep into the earth. It just runs downhill. And if you have mountains and hills nearby, it all adds up to quickly form flash floods.

In the first two clips of flooding, the storm that dumped the rain was severe warned and even had rotation on it…which I kind of captured in this other video. We wanted to chase it, so we got off on Red Rock Road, only to find these low points in the road completely covered in rushing water. I am pretty sure my Vera could have made it…but with all the emergency vehicles that crossed the water after we stopped…it seemed like it could have been worse further up. Plus I didn’t want to get stuck with Lyla in the back!

The third clip in the video was from Saturday and was again the sight of a wash after a severe/tornado warned storm went through the area.

Also…enjoy some pictures of my little girl from Friday’s chase. She’s my little buddy, my stormchasing co-pilot and she’s also becoming very adept at spotting lightning. That’s all a father can ask for really.