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Zion hikers urged to check weather

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SPRINGDALE, Washington County — Zion National Park is reminding visitors to watch the skies and get daily weather forecasts after flash floods caught two groups of hikers in the park Tuesday.

A storm rolled through the park about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, dropping .75 inches of rain in a short period of time, a National Park statement said.

Pine Creek Canyon was flooded because numerous normally dry canyons and washes on the east side of the park were flowing with runoff that all emptied into Pine Creek. The two groups of hikers were in Pine Creek Canyon during the flash flood but were able to safely reach higher ground, the statement said.

Also during the storm, debris washed down hillsides onto U-9, forcing a two-hour road closure west of Zion Tunnel. Rocks, sand and mud accumulated up to two feet in some places; cleanup required a front-end loader and road grader.

Lightning accompanied the thunderstorm and ignited three small fires near Goose Creek, Crater Hill and Cable Mountain Trail. Cable Mountain Trail is closed until further notice at its junction with the East Rim Trail. The East Rim Trail and other trails in the park remain open, the statement said.

Daily weather reports are available at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and the Kolob Canyon's Visitor Center.