Saturday, August 28, 2010


Much of the land that I roam is either desert or semi-desert. That includes the land I must drive through to get to and home from my mountain get-away. The route into the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains is US hwy 395. It starts in Victorville, CA and ends up at the Canadian border.

Until it climbs into the Sierra, Hwy 395 crosses the high Mojave desert, then travels up the Owens Valley before climbing into the mountains. The video below was shot less than a day after I traveled down Hwy 395 on my way home. I am unsure of the exact location of the event, but it looks to be in the Southern end of the Owens Valley, somewhere near Owens Dry Lake.

The mud flow appears to be black. It is speculated that the black color is due to the flow originating in a burn area from a wildfire which occurred last summer. That may be, or it may be that the flow consists of dark pumice from one of several dormant volcanoes in the area.

Regardless, this flow is the result of too much water falling from the sky in too short of a time. The ground is unable to absorb the water and the flow begins. These flash floods often begin miles away from where the damage occurs and catch people by surprise. I am guessing that the driver of the Semi never thought that he would be washed from the highway.

I am very glad that this occurred after we passed through the area rather than during or before. The highway was closed for nearly a day and then only one lane was opened with law enforcement escort. The delays were extreme and the detours were hundreds of miles out of the way. That is often the way of the desert.

Thanks for reading, stay out of flash floods!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    In my reading of the Wild West, they talk about these floods but I've never seen anything like this! Amazing! Thanks for adding to my knowledge. And oh, that truck driver. Hope he got out. How horrible.

    Ann T.