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Utah Travel Headlines

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Arches Returns To Normal After Flood Traps Visitors

In Arches National Park, 73 people were stranded for a few hours after Salt Wash flooded and cut off an access road. Nobody was injured and the road has reopened.

The flood hit about 5:30 pm Wednesday. At that time, 23 cars were on the far side of the wash, on the backroad that leads to Delicate Arch viewpoint. The water was so deep, cars could not drive through it. They were not in serious danger because they could quite easily walk over a foot bridge to get across the flooded wash.

The Park Service sent a bus to take people to Moab, to wait out the high water, but most choose to stay with their vehicles. The road was reopened at about 2:30 am Thursday.

Salt Creek drains a large area. In this case, rain fell upstream and caused the flood, even through the area around the trapped cars did not receive heavy precipitation.

For a couple weeks, Utah was in a "monsoon" weather pattern, with afternoon thunderstorms causing flooding randomly around the state. That weather pattern has now ended and we are in a drier flow. The monsoon pattern could return and so people need to pay attention to weather reports.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the flood. They also provided the photo above, which was credited to the National Park Service.

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