The month of September brought tragedy to citizens along the Arizona-Utah border cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, after a series of flash floods that claimed the lives of at least 15 people. The floods swept away two vehicles in a nearby town and washed through the canyons of Zion National Park, according to The Guardian.
When the thunderstorms hit during the middle of the month, water started to build up. Local weather stations warned residents about the potential flood after two large thunderstorms approached. Unfortunately, many of the residents and visitors at the local park never saw the warning.
“Around here, the floods have always been an entertainment,” says Carolee Jessop, local resident. “It’s always so dangerous because children will run out there and run across the bridge. They cleared them off, and within a couple minutes, the water was over it. That’s how fast it was.”
In minutes, the thunderstorm turned into a flash flood roughly 300 to 400 feet wide, according to the New York Times.
“It was taking concrete pillars and just throwing them down, just moving them like plastic,” said local resident Lorin Holm. Concrete is the most commonly used building material in the world, known for its durability and strength, and can withstand almost any damage. This shows just how powerful the flood waters were.
Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Verzella in Salt Lake City reports that the thunderstorms dropped about two and a half inches of rain in two hours.
Residents are calling this the worst flood in the history for sister towns Hildale and Colorado City. The flood left behind trees, debris, and other wreckage such as turned over cars and ruined street signs. While most of the debris has been clear, the damage is likely to last as efforts to clean up the mess continue.