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Heavy rains, debris close Timpanogos Cave trail

By McKenzie Romero | Posted - Sep 9th, 2013 @ 8:51pm

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TIMPANOGAS CAVE NATIONAL MONUMENT — After spending the day clearing debris and cleaning out a large "rock trap" that was filled by the weekend's heavy rains, crews hope to reopen trails to Timpanogos Cave sometime Tuesday.

Following the storm, rangers found the rock trap — a rock-fall attenuation fence placed above the trail — filled with rocks and debris to the point that it couldn't effectively protect against further rock falls until it was cleaned out.

"We have a few small repairs left but should be able to work around hikers (Tuesday). Thanks for your patience and support these last two days," said a statement on the monument's Facebook page Monday.

American Fork Canyon and the Swinging Bridge Picnic Area remained open. Anyone who purchased cave tour tickets for Monday had an option to get a refund of reschedule their visit.

The area was among those hit by heavy rains over the weekend, taking on 1.26 inches of rain Saturday and another 0.17 Sunday in nearby Alpine, according to the National Weather Service.

An estimated 1,000 volunteers turned out Saturday night to assist Alpine residents filling sandbags and cleaning up muddy neighborhoods after the rain brought a debris flow down from the Quail Hollow burn scar. About 0.75 inches of rain fell in just 15 minutes, the NWS reported.

In southern Utah, Zion National Park recorded 1.62 inches of rain Saturday, while the southern Utah mountains near Assay saw 2.03 inches of rain.

Rain across state is expected to continue through the week, KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank reported. A storm system crossing the southwest corner of the state will move up through central Utah, and the Wasatch Front will see stormy weather and rainfall Wednesday and Thursday, Eubank said.

The storms will keep high temperatures in the 80s in northern Utah, while central and southern Utah could see temperatures in the 70s, he said.


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