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Heavy flooding near Grand Canyon’s southern rim prompted power outages and over 100 evacuations


By Joe Sutton, Nouran Salahieh and Lauren Mascarenhas, CNN

(CNN) — Heavy flooding just south of the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park prompted shelter-in-place orders, power outages and more than 100 evacuations of residents and guests, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said.

About 70 students from the nearby Grand Canyon Unified School District who were asked to shelter in place on school property were being reunited with their families Tuesday night, the sheriff’s office said. No injuries had been reported, the office said.

Around 2 to 3 inches of rain battered the area in a short time Tuesday afternoon, creating flash flooding up to 3 feet deep in the town of Tusayan and on state Route 64, the southern entrance to the national park, Coconino County officials said.

State Route 64 south of Tusayan was closed, as the park’s fire and swift-water rescue teams responded to the scene. Authorities asked visitors to avoid all travel to and from Tusayan until the waters recede. The highway was later cleared for travel but access was limited, the sheriff’s office said.

Power outages were reported in the area Tuesday night, as crews worked to clear damage caused by the flooding, the park said.

The school district provided dinner for students while they sheltered on campus and set a delayed start time for school on Wednesday.

Tusayan is a resort town near Grand Canyon’s southern rim, where the National Weather Service reported “widespread flooding.”

Grand Canyon National Park shared images on Facebook showing significant flooding and a law enforcement vehicle that appeared to be sinking in the floodwater. Trees and other debris could also be seen littering the area.

“County representatives are meeting with Tusayan and Park Service officials to coordinate an urgent response and ensure public safety. The county is also mobilizing resources to assist with emergency shelters, clear debris from roads, and assist with evacuations if necessary,” Coconino County said.

A flood advisory in place for the area Tuesday was extended through Wednesday morning. The weather service warned of “standing water covering roadways” and said “flooding in some buildings will continue.”

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