Water – or the lack of it – is of constant concern in our high desert area where the average rainfall is eight inches annually. While our Chamber of Commerce boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, the dichotomy is most local residents routinely pray for enough rain to keep our reservoirs filled, but not so much as to cause flash flooding and loss of lives and property.
Since pioneer days, the need to divert water from the Virgin River or Santa Clara Creek to parched land under cultivation has caused many sleepless nights for farmers, ranchers, developers and homeowners. The construction and maintenance of the Old Virgin and Jarvis Ditches, Price, Hurricane, Enterprise and Washington Fields Canals, Gunlock Lake and in modern times, Quail Creek and Sand Hollow Dams, have made the “desert blossom as the rose,” but not without a price.
On New Year’s Eve, 1989, the Quail Creek Dam broke at 11:45 p.m. to become the nation’s first natural disaster in 1990. Sirens sounded, but most people contributed the blasts to the holiday celebration as millions of gallons of flood water scarred the desert landscape as it worked its way down the Virgin River in the darkness. Thankfully, no lives were lost but the damage to property was immense.
In 2005, a perfect January storm dropped 11 inches of water on the dry desert in a matter of a few hours, causing the rivers to swell and several homes to be washed away.
In September 2015, 13 local women and children lost their lives when a huge weather front caused flash flooding, washing away their vehicles. In that same storm, another 7 were drowned in the scenic beauty of a slot canyon in Zion National Park.
These situations don’t happen often, but Mother Nature is a fickle gal. No question, this community has a lengthy history of too much water … or not enough, so when visiting in our desert, please don’t take flash flooding or other storm warnings lightly. Even when the sky is blue in the morning, it is always a good idea to check weather reports before setting out on your adventure.
You won’t have any concern finding a beautiful resort rental for your winter vacation in St. George. Whether you are here for a week or a month, we will be waiting to make you comfortable against the elements at the 5 Seasons Vacation condominiums and St. George Resort Rentals. Register online today at www.stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or www.laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.