Flash flooding hits U.S. parks

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — A hiker swept away in flash floods and torrential rain was still missing Monday as a weekend of storms forced hundreds to evacuate in the latest weather disasters to hit national parks in the United States.

Heavy rains were also causing havoc in parts of Texas on Monday as forecasters predicted more precipitation throughout the southern part of the country for the rest of the week.

Jetal Agnihotri, who park officials said they were still searching for Monday, was one of a number of hikers hit by surging waters Friday when flash floods tore through an area of Zion National Park in Utah called the Narrows, known for red rock cliffs and towering canyons.

One injured hiker was carried hundreds of yards (meters) downstream by the sudden inundation, while others were left stranded until rangers reached them, the National Park Service said.

In New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park, around 200 people had to be evacuated after being trapped for several hours by rising waters.

No one was injured in that incident.

The flash flooding came after heavy rains pummeled the drought-hit southwest, with several centimeters falling in a short space of time.

The downtown area of Moab, Utah was left under three feet of water by the rains, the New York Times quoted a city spokesperson as saying.

“We had water that came through in a huge rush along with lots of debris and some full-sized trees,” Lisa Church said, adding the river had overflowed its banks in three places.

Elsewhere, footage showed children in Arizona being rescued from a school bus stranded by rising waters.

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