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Zion National Park damaged by flooding

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Posted at 7:01 PM, Aug 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-27 21:03:01-04

SPRINGDALE – Zion National Park is cleaning up after severe rain this week that caused flash floods, blocked roads and closed some of the area’s popular canyons.

The Virgin River swelled to close to 3,600 cubic feet per second after remnants of tropical storm Ivo delivered an unexpected storm Sunday.

CFS is the measurement of how fast water is flowing.

“It’s life threatening around here when we have that much rain,” said Aly Baltrus, Zion National Park Chief of Interpretation. “We had about an inch and a half, which for us is just crazy.”

All park visitors were able to get out of flash flood areas before the storm hit, but the rain managed to do quite a bit of damage to the park, Baltrus said.

“We had a lot of road issues, with rocks and things coming down,” Baltrus said.

Crews spent Monday and Tuesday clearing roads and cleaning trails. Flash Flood warnings remain in effect and rain is expected for much of the week.

But visitors like Brent Peterson don’t seem to mind. He said the added rainfall gives the park a completely different feel.

“All of the waterfalls,” Peterson said. “There are waterfalls off of all the cliffs all over the place, huge waterfalls.”

Baltrus said the most important thing is no one got hurt.

The rain this week isn’t expected to be as bad as Sunday’s storm, but rangers will be watching it closely to make sure more flash flooding doesn’t cause any danger, Baltrus said.