Wadi Driving! Attention- PR!

Ask questions or share info that applies across makes or models, things of general off-road interest.
Rank: Senior
Name: Josef Holmes
Location: Abu Dhabi
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:57 pm

Wadi Driving! Attention- PR!

Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:10 am

Hello all!

This was originally meant to be a message for PR, as I belive he's pretty much been everywhere a car can possibly go- however his inbox is full so my message won't send!

So instead I thought I'd open it up to the forum as others may have advice and also may find the info useful if they'd also like to do some wadi driving!

I just the video PR posted with the guy saving his car from a flood in Oz- incredible!

(Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYUpkPTcqPY )

But it got me thinking- I'm really keen to do some more mountain driving when I can, especially wadis (I went today to explore those around Fujairah, I LOVED it!! I went to Wadi Assimah, and also explored the Madhah and Shis area, so beautiful!).

However, I have heard of the warnings about the flash floods that can occur, and just watched some videos from both Oman and UAE that were unbelievable. There would just be no chance of escaping if you got caught in that!

I'm wondering if anyone has any advice regarding both the planning and driving through the wadis:

What checks would you perform to gauge the risk of this happening while you're in there- I'm guessing checking forecasts for potential rain in the area that would lead drainage to the wadi?
Any other preventative measures/checks I should be aware of?

I'm aware that if it was to happen, I'm sure that the first port of call would be to see if it's possible to safely reach higher ground in time; failing that I guess you would just have to keep your important belongings (passport, money, mobile, water!) to hand so that you can make a quick escape, climb up as high as possible and wave goodbye to your vehicle if it was worst case scenario :/

Also, is there a rule that you only drive down the wadi in one direction? I.e. drive in the direction that water would flow should it flood?
Not too sure why this would help, but I'm a beginner at this so thought I'd ask.

I know I'm being very cautious here, but I figured it's best to have at least a preventative strategy and an idea of what plans A, B and C would be to be on the safe side!

Any thoughts would be most appreciated!

Rank: Expert
Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:22 pm

Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:01 pm

Hi meerkatdrummer :)

Plenty of UAEoffroaders more experienced than me, especially the Emirati members! And super-especially the Emirati members with family relatives from wadi areas!!! Those are the guys who know every rock out there - and they get the phone calls: "Wadi xxx is running since this morning"; or, "Wadi yyy is flooding hard, stay away!" etc.

But anyhow I'm glad to share what I know: that's my strength - a big mouth! LOOOOL or, big typing fingers ;)

Why don't you post here the PM I sent you in response after I cleared the inbox? That could have some useful info for the forum in general 8)

It's a good question that needs discussion.
Rank: Offroader
Name: Alok Verma
Location: Dubai
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:58 pm

Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:52 pm

PR wrote:Hi meerkatdrummer :)

Why don't you post here the PM I sent you in response after I cleared the inbox? That could have some useful info for the forum in general 8)

It's a good question that needs discussion.
Dear Meerkatdrummer,

Surely you raised a very interesting and important topic. I look forward to your sharing the PM sent to you by PR. Also I eagerly await inputs from other experienced off-roaders !
Rank: Expert
Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:22 pm

Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:48 pm

Actually, I got a copy in my Sent folder, duh!!

Hope it's useful. Here it is:

Hi Joe - good thinking! Yes, people get killed every year in flash floods!

Mostly, though, these deaths are completely avoidable. You see, if you view the videos, most cases are drivers trying to cross what is clearly a very dangerous raging river!!! Why they try I have no idea? Bravado? Stupidity? No idea... but they do, every time there's rain, they rush to the wadis...

So, here's what I do. When there's rain forecast I stay away. A few days after the rains are done, I'll go see what happened - not during. That way I know there's not more water coming, and I get the full aftermath of the forces at play.

When there have not been rain forecasts, I scan the sky for rainclouds before entering the wadi. I look especially uphill, and where there are high-up flat plateaus that will drain into my wadi. If i see rainclouds, I simply go somewhere else. That particular wadi can wait for another trip.

When I'm in the wadi, I keep an eye to the sky. Also, I park or camp well high above the water mark. You can clearly see where the water last passed by the marks and debris it left. If the water does start to flow, I know my family, car, and campsite is above the flood line so we'll just stay put and sit it out - at most it will flood a couple of days and then the water will subside. Better stranded up on the banks than in the flood.

So, really, I'm not worried about flash floods. You do have warning.

Here's the real nasty: camping on a beach near mountains. Strange, eh? Well, many beaches are actually the drainage point of the surrounding mountains. Eventually most rivers flow into the sea, and the beaches in the East Coast and Oman are mostly coves, and the lowest and only point all that water gets funneled through. So, if you're camped at night and the waters start flowing, you'll have minutes before everything is washed out into sea - seriously.

Therefore, watch out for where you place your tent on the beach if in a tight cove backed up into mountains. Better placed up and at the side rather than down at the lowest point.

So, with these precautions and common sense, go confidently on your wadi trips 8)



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