The sense of impending doom has eased quite a bit since yesterday morning, as river levels have come down quite a bit and the Trees Ranch Dam has evidently been holding strong. Folks have been bringing staged sandbags back to the supply station, and the atmosphere is definitely more relaxed. We are feeling pretty lucky to be near the top of the Virgin River watershed, as some folks downstream in Rockville, Virgin, St. George, Toquerville, Beaver Dam, Enterprise, etc. are having a much rougher go of it.
After peaking around 5,300 cfs yesterday, the Springdale river gauge fell consistently overnight to under 1,000 at midday, today. It has been raining lightly today and the river is shooting back up at the moment, but the forecast is for a peak around 4,000 cfs, much better than yesterday’s 5,300 cfs.
Zion National Park continues to be closed, though the Visitor’s Center was open this afternoon to provide information, answer visitor questions, etc. Expecting another river surge this afternoon, the Park expects will be closed at least through today, possibly into tomorrow. The Park hopes to open to road traffic tomorrow, but staff will need to survey road infrastructures to ensure everything is safe first. Road damage to the East Side road, connecting Springdale to Mt. Carmel, Kanab, and Bryce Canyon, has closed the newly improved route until further assessment and repair. After the road opens up, some trails may be closed until they are verified as safe… standby for updates as they are issued from Park staff.
While Zion and Springdale residents are sighing with relief today, tension remains high all over Washington county as flood damage continues to evolve. The Virgin River engulfed a few homes in Beaver Dam, and many sections of road and bridges have been wiped out around the county. Closer to Zion, Rockville mayor, Allen Brown, is still advising town residents to stay out of town, probably because a catastrophic failure of the dam is still possible, if not likely, and we’re way better safe than sorry on that possibility.