Grand Canyon flooding shocks residents

August 18th, 2008 - 11:51 pm ICT by David M N James  

Grand Canyon was rocked by a flood when an earthen dam broke early Sunday after heavy rains.

The rains and floods wreaked havoc in the Grand Canyon area forcing evacuations. Officials had to rescue and pick hundreds of residents and campers from the gorge by helicopter. In one of the events which catapulted rapid rescue efforts a boating group of 16 found themselves with no where to run as they were just stuck on a ledge at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River. This was after flood waters carried their rafts away. The boatsmen were found uninjured and were being rescued from the canyon, whose floor is unreachable in many places except by helicopter.

Rescuers have affirmed that no injuries were reported though dozens of people were spending the night at an American Red Cross evacuation center set up in the Hualapai Tribal Gymnasium in Peach Springs, Arizona. Rescue workers maneuvered all through Sunday to locate campers and Supai Village residents and safely transport them to the top of the canyon. This area has about 400 Havasupai tribe inhabiting the village. The officials monitoring the situation are evaluating if water levels have gone down so that they can resume rescue operation with the helicopters.

Officials issued a stern and immediate flash flood warning shortly after the rains begun causing damage. The floods have damaged hiking trails and footbridges and washed them away. The dam caused this damage approximately 45 miles from Supai. Besides, trees were uprooted and vegetation destroyed by the rushing floods. The Redlands Earthen Dam crashed at around 6 a.m. Sunday. According to National Weather Service meteorologists, Grand Canyon has so far received over 6 inches of rain and 2 inches more on Sunday night up to Monday morning..

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