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Storm in the Grand Canyon

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by Ram, Aug 12, 2018 at 8:10 PM.

  1. Ram


    This weekend apparently.WOW!

    I had a beautiful helicopter flight out of the Grand Canyon yesterday... the south rim medical clinic to stitch up a large laceration on my arm. ----- 2 kids were with me (---- was hit in the elbow and has a bruised bone.........we hope that's all). ---- came up from Goodyear and brought us home. We were at Fern Glen about 10 miles upstream from Lava when it was hit with a microburst; hurricane force winds followed by intense hail and an hour of the most heavy rain I'd ever seen and then a flash flood. A commercial group camping upstream a mile at National campsite lost everything. They barely made it to the rafts with PFDs and took off. Their flash flood rose the river level by us by 4-5 feet. We camped together that night and helped each other out. Normally after an event like that you'd see waterfalls off the rim. This time it was a complete pour over along the rim bringing water, debris and rocks. Yes, lots of rocks. While running to safety, I was hit by a rock tearing a chunk out of my arm. Another lady in our group was hit by a rock that broke her clavicle in 2 places and broke the same arm in 2 places. She was med evacuated to St. George Utah for surgery. The rest of the group is still on the river hoping to cut the trip short......except that the take-out at Diamond Creek also "flashed" and it washed out so they will have to go to Pierce Ferry. Today they run lava. Wish them well.

    The following posted 8-12-2018

    WRA was at Tuckup, GCE at National and a private at Fern Glen. The storm was next level gnarly with silver dollar size hail and literally every drainage flashing huge. National camp looked like a bomb went off there when we rowed by the next morning. Gear, tents, bags, kitchen, everywhere. It was haunting and eerie. We had our entire kitchen taken out at Tuckup but managed to recover most of it. Seeing the scene at National made of realize we got off relatively easy compared to the other two camps. I’ll be interested to hear more about how the other two groups fared. Glad that no one died and hopefully everyone can get reunited with their personal gear.
  2. Rapterman


    Hope everyone is ok....
  3. Rick Demarest

    Rick Demarest

    An Update from Tom Martin
    UPDATE 8-13-2018 Just spoke with one of the trip participants that was camped at Fern Glen. The group had set up kitchen tarps to get out of the rain. They first experienced extremely high winds, and set one of the tarps down. Then they were hailed on, with hail up to and exceeding 3/4 inch. This was followed by heavy rain, sending sheets or water cascading off the overhead cliffs. This let loose rocks which peppered their camp. A 71 year old female suffered a compound fracture to her clavicle and a shattered humerus, a 70 year old male sustained a lacerated upper arm, a 60 year old male sustained a minor head laceration, and one minor sustained an elbow injury. Grand Canyon National Park dispatch was notified, but as it was almost dark, and the injuries were non-life-threatening, evacuation plans were set for first light the following morning. Meanwhile, a Grand Canyon Expeditions two boat motorized tour boat trip was camped upstream 1.5 miles at the mouth of National Canyon. They had finished dinner when their camp was inundated by a flash flood. The group evacuated to the two boats and headed downriver, abandoning their camp sleeping and bathroom equipment. When they arrived at Fern Glen, one of their motorboats had experienced a motor failure and was under tow by the second boat. The two trips worked together to make sure everyone had as comfortable sleeping arrangements as possible for the night. A doctor on the GCE trip assisted in the overnight care of the inured. At first light on Friday, August 10, multiple National Park Service helicopter evacuations occurred to remove those injured. The GCE trip took their passengers to Whitmore Wash where all were passengers were helicoptered out of the Canyon by private helicopter. The do-it-yourself group was unable to take out at Diamond Creek as planned due to flooding which closed the Diamond Creek access road, and the group headed on to Pierce Ferry where they plan to take out tomorrow, August 14.

    The rain map. A direct hit on National. Purple is a big time hit!

    national storm.
    Rapterman likes this.
  4. Rapterman


    Seems like some EPIC weather the last few years....
    We may have caught part of your storm cell while driving to flagstaff this weekend.
    Pulled over in biblical rain then got pounded by hail (some damage to paint and trim).
    While huddled in the back seat, dog between us, with packs over our heads in case the windshield burst, I was wondering:
    what would a canyon be like right now? :eek:
    Now we know! REALLY BAD!
    Is your arm ok Ram?
    Todd and Desi
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