Virgin River Flooding, Zion Closed, Rockville and Virgin Evacuated

After 4 straight days of heavy rain, the Virgin River is rising to impressive and dangerous levels in Zion. While the river’s typical volume this time of year is under 100 cubic feet/second, the river almost reached 6000 cfs this afternoon… and the forecast for rain continues through tomorrow. Things are pretty scary here, as Mother Nature lets it all loose.

The Park Service has closed and evacuated the Zion National Park, partially triggered by erosional failure of part of the Zion Scenic Drive road. This morning, Rockville mayor Alan Brown declared a State of Emergency and many Rockville residents began evacuating their homes, fearful the raging Virgin River will breach the Trees Ranch dam and rise over the flood bank and into town. As of an hour ago, the dam is reported to have a partial breach, though evidently it is still holding. Perhaps a slow breach is better than a fast one? I’m unsure how breaches work, but in any case it sounds like bad news. Below is the view from Zion Canyon Sanctuary, where Mayor Brown lives, earlier this morning…

If you are coming to Zion for any reason, please keep yourself informed of the latest news and consider rescheduling your visit. In any case, Zion National Park is closed until further notice, and nobody can drive in or out of Springdale, as State Route 9 has been closed near the Majestic View Lodge. For those interested in the latest on the flooding here, read more at KSL News.

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About Nick

Nick Wilkes found ZAC in 1996, working first as an outfitter, then a guide, then as webmaster. An ardent adventure enthusiast, Nick's recent exploits involve laying down roots in Wisconsin, chasing his kids around the house, working as a Madison, WI photographer and growing his Wisconsin climbing business. Connect with Nick on Facebook, Google+, or directly via email.
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