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Flash floods, mudslides surface in southern Utah after thunderstorms

Powerful thunderstorms created flooding and mudslides in several areas Thursday, and another mudflow from a burn scar...

Posted: Jul 17, 2018 11:22 AM
Updated: Jul 17, 2018 11:22 AM

Powerful thunderstorms created flooding and mudslides in several areas Thursday, and another mudflow from a burn scar in Beaver County led to a close call for at least one driver.

The National Weather Service estimated more than 2.5 inches of rain had fallen in some places, and it issued flash flood warnings for several areas of Washington County. Standing water created hazards for drivers in places like state Route 18 near Snow Canyon.

Officials estimate at least 19 homes off of state Route 18 near Dammeron Valley have flooded basements and nearly 200 homes have some type of property damage.

A section of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway was closed as of late Thursday evening, and some trails at Zion National Park had been closed due to damage from the storms. As of 4:15 p.m. Friday, Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway was reopened.

In Beaver County, Michelle Carter said she was nearly caught in a mudflow as she drove near Minersville.

A Facebook post documented her encounter with the treacherous road conditions.

"Do not go through the pass in Minersville! We just got caught in this!" she cautioned other drivers in the post. "The road just barely cleared up enough for us to get out. We almost got washed down the ravine. It was like the most scary thing I've seen in my whole life!"

Carter said she never expected to encounter conditions like those.

"I've always heard not to drive into the flood waters and didn't know what to do when you're in the middle of this mudslide in a two-lane highway with nowhere to go."

She cautioned other drivers to beware of what can happen in a matter of minutes during bad weather.

"It looked like one of those little cloudbursts that we had. It didn't look like anything," Carter said. "I just had to make a gut instinct and a quick call of what the best thing was to keep me and the 10-year-old that was with me safe."

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