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This flash flood event is the result of rain runoff in the Santa Clara Pueblo watershed. The cause of the flash flooding is the end result of the destruction of the Las Conchas Wildland Fire (26 June 2011) in the Jemez Mountain Range. Welfare for the film crew was paramount while photographing this flash flood. All personnel were in radio contact with trained spotter’s located on high ground, which had long range visual contact with the fast moving and developing movement of the rushing waters. Flood conditions were less than the maximum high water levels observed in the past 2 years, which allowed the file crew to move into the lower area of the canyon. The film crews are all trained members of the swift water emergency response team, fully equipped with life vests, helmets and two-way radios.
This video starts in Santa Clara Canyon, at Latitude N 35.58'35 - W 106. 07'47 - Elevation 6666 feet. Note at 0:35 time line, you can see small clouds of dust being kicked up for the movement of debris and water as it moves downstream. The head of the flash flood is followed and filmed all the way to the junction of the Rio Grande River.
At 06:20 time line, you will see two dogs run down to the creek edge, unaware of the dangers of the flood waters. Flash flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. One dog is nearly hit by accumulating debris flowing out of the water channel. This dog was lucky to have not been injured or swept away into the moving debris. Moments later the dogs decide the creek bed in not a cool place to be, as the flood water rises. Who said Rez’s dogs are not smart? This is one of the life safety reasons to seek higher ground and stay away from the travel path of a flash flood. At 13:00 time line the flood water is diminishing in flow. Debris and sediment can be seen, marking the high water mark.
Rain in mountainous terrain can be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of flash flooding. This is because the topography can quickly funnel water into low laying areas like valley areas. By the time the flood waters reach the Rio Grande River it has traveled about 30 miles in the canyon from the headwaters of Santa Clara Creek.