SALT LAKE CITY – Zion National Park has reopened after closing for several hours Tuesday when heavy rain and a surging river made park routes impassable.
Park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus said Zion reopened park gates and roads late Tuesday afternoon.
The park closed midday after runoff from high canyon walls flooded some stretches of roads while the rising river blocked other areas in narrow canyons.
Park officials began turning visitors away at the park gates, and a shuttle service was stopped.
Campgrounds were a safe distance away from the flooded areas, and campers were allowed to stay put, Baltrus said.
Visitors who had reservations at a lodge inside the park were allowed to drive there only if escorted by officials.
No injuries or missing people were reported.
Forecasters issued a broad flood warning for the park and a large stretch of southern Utah through Tuesday night.
Mike Conger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said conditions were improving early Tuesday evening.
“The activity seems to be winding down at least gradually,” he said.
Some rain was expected into the evening, which could cause some isolated flooding in southern Utah, Conger said.
Earlier in the day, heavy rain pummeled Washington County in the southwestern corner of the state, flooding several homes and leaving standing water on city streets.
In the neighboring cities of Santa Clara and Ivins, several homes and streets were flooded Tuesday, according to Officer Chad Holt with the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department.
Holt said flooding inside the homes was light but crews were surrounding some homes with sandbags as a precaution.
“Right now we’ve got things contained at this point,” Holt said early Tuesday afternoon. “It doesn’t seem like it’s getting any worse.”
Water subsided from flooded streets by noon, leaving debris in the roads, Holt said.
Holt had no reports of injuries or flood-related traffic accidents.
The Washington County School District canceled afternoon preschool and kindergarten classes for five elementary schools because of flooding, according to a statement on the district website.
Messages seeking further details were not returned.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning through 9 p.m. Tuesday for stretches of southern Utah from Washington County to central Lake Powell.