America’s deadliest natural disaster takes place in the Beehive State

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Search and rescue team members place a litter in a net for helicopter transport after finding a body in Pine Creek on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Zion National Park, near Springdale, Utah. Authorities are searching for other hikers killed in flash flooding that swept through a narrow canyon at Utah's Zion National Park. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Search and rescue team members place a litter in a net for helicopter transport after finding a body in Pine Creek on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Zion National Park, near Springdale, Utah. Authorities are searching for other hikers killed in flash flooding that swept through a narrow canyon at Utah’s Zion National Park. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

With 18 confirmed dead and two still missing, Monday’s flash floods in Zion’s National Park took more lives than any other natural disaster this year in America, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’re pretty used to flash flooding but this is significantly more,” Hildale assistant fire chief Kevin Barlow said. “The search and rescue team was quickly on the scene, but there is only so much that you can do.”

The Washington County flash floods also hold the distinction of the deadliest nature disaster in Utah history, according to the National Weather Service.

To honor the lives lost in the floods, Gov. Herbert has order the flags to be flown at half-staff at all state facilities at sunset on Thursday, Sept. 17 until sunset, Friday Sept. 18, 2015.

“I join with other Utahns in mourning the tragedy in Washington County and Zion National Park,” Gov. Herbert said. “Jeanette and I send our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones. I thank the first responders, volunteers and other officials involved in the recovery effort.”

The governor reminds Utah residents and visitors “to take appropriate precautions and be aware of the factors that contribute to dangerous flash floods.” This includes “strong thunderstorms and intense rainfall that can take place over several hours or even just a few minutes.”

Texas held America’s deadliest weather event this year prior to Monday with the flash flooding from Blanco River having killed 13 people on May 23 and 24, according to the National Weather Service.

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