Virgin River flooding false alarm; STGnews Photo Gallery

North Fork Virgin River, Springdale, Gateway to Zion National Park
North Fork Virgin River, Springdale, Gateway to Zion National Park, Utah, Jan. 14, 2012 | Photo by Dan Mabbutt, St. George News

SPRINGDALE – Alarms went off in Zion Park on Sunday, Jan. 13 when automated equipment maintained by the United States Geophysical Service (USGS) shot up to flood stage levels.

United States Geological Survey data to National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, found to be inaccurate due to a faulty guage. Springdale, Utah, Jan. 13, 2013 | National Weather Service image

At 4:30 a.m. today, it resulted in registering major flood levels for the North Fork Virgin River near Springdale, an “observed value at 19.96 feet” (flood stage is 9.3 feet).

A glance out of a window made it clear that no flood was happening. As comedian Stephen Colbert has remarked, “What are you going to believe? A computer or your lying eyes?”

A major flood that covered properties along the river in Springdale took place just before Christmas in 2010 so technicians were sent to check it out anyway and found that the river gauge was malfunctioning due to the unusually cold weather in the Park this year.

Aly Baltrus,  Zion Park Chief of Interpretive Services said that a flood this year is unlikely. “There would not only have to be a lot of snow, but there would also have to be a huge warming trend.”

The NWS site also registered flood action level for minor flooding of the Virgin River in the Hurricane area at 7:15 a.m., with levels dropping back below flood stage by 10 a.m.

If you follow the USGS flood event reporting on the Internet, St. George News pictures taken early on Monday, Jan. 14 should give you some reassurance. Our photo gallery follows:

Note: Click on photo to enlarge, use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through this story’s photo gallery.

North Fork Virgin River, Springdale, Gateway to Zion  | Dan Mabbutt STGnews.com
North Fork Virgin River, Springdale, Gateway to Zion National Park, Utah, Jan. 14, 2012 | Photo by Dan Mabbutt, St. George News
Virgin River at the state Route 9 bridge at the Pah Tempe Hot Springs area, Hurricane–LaVerkin | Dave Amodt, STGnews.com
Virgin River at the state Route 9 bridge at the Pah Tempe Hot Springs area, between Hurricane and LaVerkin, Utah, Jan 14, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Virgin River near the Pah Tempe Hot Springs area, Hurricane – LaVerkin | Dave Amodt STGnews.com
Virgin River near the Pah Tempe Hot Springs area, between Hurricane and LaVerkin, Utah, Jan 14, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this story.

Ed. correction made 11:15 a.m. with apologies to Stephen Colbert for misspelling his name with a “v.”

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.