From helicopter rescues to muddy cliffside waterfalls, intense footage continues to pour in as flash flooding sweeps Capitol Reef National Park.
At approximately 12:18 PM MDT, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office received word of flash flooding in Capitol Reef National Park. Officials warned conditions could potentially cause trouble, and they were right. Amidst active flooding in Grand Wash, park rangers began search & rescue operations as rapids trapped visitors inside their vehicles. Some rangers became stranded themselves.
Utah’s DPS was quick to respond with helicopter rescue, however, saving at least six lives. As local KUTV shares, this incredible footage shows one such live rescue:
“Utah DPS: real life rescues at Capitol Reef National Park. They’re good at what they do and getting more practice than we’d like to see of late,” reports KUTV’s Heidi Hatch alongside.
Around 60 park visitors were also brought safely to parking lots along Capitol Reef’s scenic drive. Thankfully, no casualties would result, only injuries.
Further footage shows “Heavy rainfall on Tuesday led to flash floods, muddy roads and some unexpected waterfalls in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park,” as shared by CBS News:
In addition, footage by Mike McPharlin (below) shows how intensely Utah’s monsoon season can change waterways. Currently, the park’s waterways are overflowing. Many areas that do not typically host waterfalls are seeing gushing, muddy waterfalls (above). Other swaths of desert are washing out as rain creates intense, temporary rivers throughout Capitol Reef.
“Monsoon season is here! Take a look at this dramatic flash flood video from this afternoon at Capitol Reef National Park,” shares reporter Chase Thomason of the video:
Capitol Reef National Park Has Yet to Release Official Statement on Flash Flood
As park staff continues park rehabilitation, Capitol Reef officials have yet to release a statement on the flash flooding.
Initially, the park would keep visitors up to date via social media. “This Flash Flood Warning will extend until 5 pm. A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for portions of the park from Sulphur Creek to Sheets Gulch until 3 pm. Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge roads are closed due to flood danger. Do not cross flowing water and avoid canyons,” the park wrote on Facebook.
As flooding took over park roads, the park would offer sparing updates to the public.
“This Flash Flood Warning has been extended until 5 pm. The Scenic Drive also remains closed and State Road 24 east of the visitor center has reopened,” the park posted to Twitter.
“UPDATE: State Road 24 is flooded and impassable near mile marker 83. This is east of the visitor center on the highway. Do not attempt to cross,” another post read.
Currently, the closing of Capitol Reef National Park’s Scenic Drive remains in place. No further details have come to light at this time. Once park officials release a statement, Outsider will have it for you.