Swift water rescue workers arrived to the scene of heavy flooding just south of the Grand Canyon National Park entrance on Tuesday, prompting recommendations for tourists to stay in place at the well-known Arizona tourist site.
According to Coconino County officials, the region received 2 to 3 inches of rain in a brief period of time on Tuesday afternoon, which caused floodwater to collect up to 3 feet high in the town of Tusayan and along State Route 64, the southern entry to Grand Canyon National Park.
South of Tusayan, State Route 64 was shut down, and county officials warned citizens against making “unnecessary travel to and from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.”
According to the county, “emergency notifications” have been sent out, asking residents in flood-affected areas to stay put until the waters subside. Grand Canyon Village students were being detained at school, and parents were advised to wait to attempt and pick them up until it was considered safe, according to officials.
In the resort community of Tusayan, which is close to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, the National Weather Service noted “widespread flooding.”
Images of heavy flooding and a law enforcement vehicle that appeared to be sinking in floodwater were posted on Facebook by Grand Canyon National Park. The region was also littered with trees and other garbage.
Travel to and from Tusayan has been prohibited by park authorities until further notice.
In order to coordinate an urgent response and protect public safety, county leaders are meeting with Tusayan and Park Service officials. According to Coconino County, resources are also being mobilized to help with emergency shelters, clean up road debris, and support evacuations as needed.
The National Weather Service issued a flood alert for the area on Tuesday, and it was extended until Wednesday morning. Roadways will be covered in standing water, and some buildings will continue to flood, it was warned.”
Between 7 and 8 p.m. local time, “a few thunderstorms will brush areas east of Tusayan,” the weather service predicted, “with only brief light to moderate showers.”Nothing like this afternoon’s earlier. The most likely location to experience flooding is Tusayan.