WASHINGTON COUNTY – Stormy weather brought multiple accidents, traffic delays and flooding to Southern Utah Sunday afternoon and evening.
Several severe weather and flash flood warnings were issued by the National Weather Service for areas of Washington and Kane counties, including Zion National Park.
The weather-related accidents began just after 3 p.m., when a single passenger vehicle traveling north on Interstate 15 hit heavy water and lost control. The car veered off of the freeway and continuing for 75 feet down an embankment, rolling over and coming to rest upside down.
The single occupant of the car climbed out of the vehicle unassisted, said he was not injured and declined transport to the hospital, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lawrence Hopper said. The vehicle was heavily damaged and the vehicle had to be towed from the scene.
The Utah Highway Patrol, Utah Department of Transportation Incident Management and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to the scene.
An hour later, two semitrucks were involved in an accident at milepost 17 on southbound I-15.
The first semitruck slowed down because of heavy rain, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lawrence Hopper said. The second semi did not see the first truck in time to slow down, and crashed into the back of the first one.
The collision caused extensive damage to the second semi, and both drivers complained of minor injuries but declined transport.
Another vehicle, a Volkswagen GTI, was damaged as the car struck debris from the semitruck collision. The undercarriage of the Volkswagon was damaged and the oil pan was punctured, Hopper said.
Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Leeds Area Ambulance, Utah State Patrol, and Leeds Fire Department responded to the scene.
Other minor accidents occurred throughout the county during the stormy weather.
At about 3:30 p.m., a black passenger car slid into a guard rail on I-15 southbound at milepost 54. Rainy weather at the time likely contributed to the accident, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Nathan Clark said.
The vehicle sustained damage to its front end and had to be towed from the scene; and the guard rail was also damaged.
Southbound traffic was severely impacted for a time, due to the presence of emergency vehicles. There were no reported injuries, Clark said.
During the stormy weather, a Cedar City home was struck by lightning, starting a small fire and causing damage to the home.
Zion National Park
A flash flood warning was issued Sunday afternoon for the park, and the Narrows and all other slot canyons were closed, according to information on the Park’s Facebook page. In addition, Kolob Canyon Road was reported closed due to debris in the road caused by heavy rain in the area.
Minor flooding was reported in various locations including Main Street in Leeds, Washington Fields, south Dixie Downs Drive, old Highway 91 near Toquerville and more. There were also unconfirmed reports of vehicles stranded by flooding in the Cane Beds area.
According to information from Washington County Emergency Services, heavy rains have left roadways wet, many with standing water and some with mud and debris. Additional storms are predicted and the public is urged to avoid travel if possible.
If travel is necessary, use caution, slow down and expect wet slippery roads. In flash flood conditions, avoid flooded areas and areas subject to sudden flooding. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams or water in roadways. Most flood fatalities happen in vehicles or because people are playing in high water. If you encounter flowing water on a roadway, turn around and find another route.
St. George News reporters Emily Hammer and Julie Applegate contributed to this report.
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