Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reports from the field: flash flood

rainy rainbow

Looks like it is getting to be summer thunderstorm season already. This is the time of year when Colorado's eastern plains receive most of their annual precipitation. Many small draws, gullies, and ravines on the plains are dry for much of the year, until a big thunderstorm rolls over and drops a lot of rain. The result can be a flash flood. CNHP ecologist Renée Rondeau took these photos in southeastern Colorado after a teriffic storm.

washed out road
A section of road over a normally dry wash is destroyed by flood waters.

standing water on the prairie
Rain falls faster than the ground can absorb it, resulting in pools of standing water on the prairie.

The next day, you can see the flood debris held by the shrubs. Intact vegetation is important for preventing erosion during these severe weather events.

flood debris caught in vegetation
Flood debris along the path of what was a makeshift river just the day before.

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