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Flash flooding in Veyo strands campers; officials urge residents to sign up for county alerts

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Posted at 11:13 PM, Aug 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-05 01:13:52-04

VEYO, Utah - A Washington County business owner is still assessing the damage after a weekend flash flood on Monday.

Veyo Pool owner Morris Awtell expects flash floods every now and again due to his location on the Santa Clara River, but he said the one that came through early Saturday morning was unexpected.

“The strength of that water,” Atwell said. “We had to get several picnic tables out of the trees. We hadn’t had any rain, so yeah, that was a big surprise.”

Heavy rainfall caused the river to more than double in size. It took out one small foot bridge, and stranded over a dozen campers.

Washington County Search and Rescue pulled 13 people across the flooded river to safety. St. George News was on scene after the flood and took several photos, which can be viewed here: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/08/02/ams-jek-swiftwater-high-angle-teams-rescue-13-campers-stranded-by-130-a-m-flash-flood-in-slot-canyon/#.U-AB06jWRk3

The flood pushed the campers’ gear, and their car downstream.

Atwell said the family, visiting from Las Vegas, had to have their cars towed because the bag with their keys was never recovered.

“I thought, well maybe I better go down and check, this was early morning,” Atwell said. “So I come down and check, and I find the people down here looking for their stuff.”

The flash flooding is one reason emergency managers are urging residents to sign up for county emergency alerts; so they know when flooding is imminent.

The system works like a reverse 911. But Washington County Emergency Services Director Pete Kuhlmann said in an age of cell phones, people need to register their numbers so the alerts get to people quickly.

“What we’re urging people to do is to register at www.911register.com with their information on the system,” Kuhlmann said. “And register for the types of alerts they want to receive.”

More information on the emergency alert system, and to sign up, can be found at www.911register.com