Utah Issues Flash Flood Warning For Zion National Park, Southern Counties

by Craig Garrett
Zion NP, Virgin River flooding in storm - stock photo

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for southern Utah, including Zion National Park. A flood advisory has been issued for all cities in Washington County, the St. George News reports. A flash flood warning was issued early Monday morning for west central Kane County and east central Washington County, which was in effect from 5:25 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms with severe rain across the warned region, where flash flooding is still ongoing and predicted.

According to the weather service, life-threatening flash flooding and dangerous debris flows are possible in canyons and small streams. Some of the areas that could be affected by this include Zion National Park, Behunin Canyon, Echo Canyon and The Narrows.

At 7 a.m., the weather service issued a local flood advisory for residents in Washington City, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Quail Creek State Park, Sand Hollow State Park, Toquerville, Leeds, Virgin and Pintura. The advisory is set to last until 9 a.m.

Safety recommendations during a flash flood in Zion National Park

The following safety recommendations are provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS). Flash floods can rumble through your area at breakneck speeds, rolling boulders, uprooting trees, demolishing buildings and bridges, and digging new channels. The height of water-killing walls may reach 10 to 20 feet. You won’t always have a chance to flee before these deadly, sudden floods arrive. When a flash flood warning is issued for your region or when you first realize that a flash flood is approaching, act quickly to avoid risk. You might only have seconds before the waters engulf you.

The most common cause of flood fatalities are in automobile accidents. Do not attempt to drive your car into regions where the water covers the road. Floodwater is often deeper than it appears. The road bed may be damaged below the water’s surface. If your vehicle stalls, get out as quickly as possible and seek higher ground. Water that is rapidly rising may submerge the automobile and its occupants, carrying them away.

Hiking in Zion National Park can be dangerous if there is a risk of a flash flood. Make sure to hike with at least one other person and tell someone your itinerary before you set out. If you see any signs of flooding, avoid the area entirely. Do not try to cross flowing water on foot unless it is absolutely necessary, and only do so if the water level is below your knees. Be extra cautious at night as it can be harder to spot potential dangers in the dark. Finally, never camp or park near streams or washes during periods of heavy rain or floods.