ST. GEORGE — The mayor of Cedar City has declared a state of emergency in Cedar City after the area received more than two inches of rain in one hour early Monday afternoon. In addition, a lightning strike at a substation has caused a burned-out circuit knocking out power to a little over 1,600 people in the southern Cedar City area.
The National Weather Service said there were 2.14 inches of rain in an hour in the Cedar City area early Monday afternoon.
“We have been out assessing the damage throughout the city and it is extensive both to private and public property,” Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards said in a statement posted on Facebook. She added city crews will be out through the night assessing damage and assisting residents.
The power outage, reported at 2:38 p.m., is affecting 1,618 customers in Cedar City according to Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson Jasen Lee. The current estimated restoral time is 8:30 p.m.
“It was two burned-off jumpers in a circuit caused by lightning,” Lee said. “Right now, they have crews coming to take a look.”
To the south, Zion National Park closed The Narrows and all of its slot canyons Monday afternoon. Over the weekend, flash flooding occurred in The Narrows necessitating a brief evacuation of hikers on Friday afternoon as floodwaters surged through The Narrows.
See above the story for flooding video from Zion National Park by St. George News/Cedar City News reader Makayla Lamb-Ramirez
Earlier, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Virgin River Gorge and Littlefield, Ariz., areas and a severe thunderstorm warning centered in the Washington City and St. George areas.
That warning ended at 4 p.m., but a flash flood watch remains in all of Southern Utah until midnight.
In addition, flash flood warnings have been issued late Monday afternoon for Central Garfield County, Central Kane County and the lower portion of Beaver County. All of those warnings are expected to last until approximately 6:30 p.m.
The severe thunderstorm warning, meaning that a severe thunderstorm is imminent or occurring, was issued at 3:30 p.m. centered in Washington City and also including St. George and the Ivins/Santa Clara areas. The warning said a severe thunderstorm is hitting the area capable of 60 mph wind gusts and half-dollar size hail. The storm was moving northeast from Washington City.
Accompanying the thunderstorm warning was an urban flood advisory for much of the Washington County area that ended at 5:30 p.m. The advisories also include Snow Canyon State Park and portions of Interstate 15 and state Route 18.
A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. If you are in the warned area move to higher ground immediately. Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property.
In hilly terrain there are hundreds of washes and low-water crossings that are potentially dangerous in heavy rain. Do not attempt to cross flooded roads. Find an alternate route.
St. George News reporters have seen heavy street flooding with the potential for basement flooding in the Cedar City and Enoch areas, as well as heavy rain in Washington City, St. George and Ivins.
Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. The public should monitor the latest forecasts and be prepared to take action.
Turn around. Don’t drown.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service offer the following safety rules for flash flooding:
- Flash flood waves, moving at incredible speeds, can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges and scour out new channels. Killing walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet. You will not always have warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. When a flash flood warning is issued for your area or the moment you first realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may have only seconds.
- Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. The road bed may not be intact under the water. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away.
- Do not hike rivers and especially slot canyons while flash flood warnings are in place.
- Do not hike alone and always tell someone where you and your buddy and others are going.
- Get out of areas subject to flooding, including dips, low spots, canyons and washes.
- Avoid already flooded and high velocity flow areas. Do not try to cross a flowing stream on foot where water is above your knees.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
During any flood emergency, stay tuned to official weather reports via radio, television and social media. Cell phone users can also sign up to receive weather alerts as text messages. You can also follow St. George News and Cedar City News for weather alerts and updates relevant to Southern Utah.
For the most current conditions, warnings and advisories, go to the National Weather Service-Salt Lake City office website.
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