Castle Valley Comments, June 20, 2019

Bill Rau captured this stunning image of lightning striking near Castle Rock during the storm that passed through the valley Monday evening.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox recently filed his declaration to run for governor of Utah during the next election. He intends to visit every incorporated city and town in the state during the next several months preceding the election in November. As a result of that commitment he will visit Moab next Tuesday, June 25 and after spending the night he will travel to Castle Valley to visit with the residents here.

His schedule calls for him to arrive in Castle Valley at 10:45 a.m. and spend an hour in the valley where he will visit the Castle Valley Town Hall and the Castle Valley Fire Station #2 and participate in a service project. Light refreshments will be served in the firehouse during his visit and the public is invited to attend.

The Castle Valley medical responders, along with Grand County EMS and Classic Air were paged out early Sunday morning at about 1:35 a.m. to Hidden Lake for an injury accident involving a Polaris RZR ATV. The driver was reported to have been ejected from the vehicle and sustained serious injuries while the passengers suffered minor injuries but refused medical attention.

While the Castle Valley ambulance was responding to Hidden Lake, members of the driver’s party decided to load the patient up in a private vehicle and self-transport to the hospital. As a result, the responding Castle Valley ambulance and the other vehicle passed each other in the Castleton area. The vehicle and the patient continued on until they met the responding Moab ambulance and a Grand County deputy on the Pace Hill Road. The Classic Air helicopter also landed on a selected landing zone in the middle of the road with traffic blocked from each direction.

The patient was to be loaded in the helicopter and transported to Grand Junction, but because of a mechanical problem the aircraft couldn’t get off the ground, so the patient was transported to Moab Regional Hospital by Grand County EMS ambulance.

The helicopter remained parked on the Pace Hill Road until it was repaired and flew off under its own power at about 9:45 a.m. Traffic was allowed to travel on Pace Hill Road but was restricted to vehicles that could pass under the helicopter’s rotors while it was stranded on the road.

A few days earlier, Castle Valley emergency medical responders responded to Fisher Towers for a hiker who was suffering from heat-related problems and not able to continue back to the trailhead. The 55-year-old Moab woman was treated on the trail by Castle Valley and Moab medical responders and carried back to the trailhead by Grand County Search and Rescue, aided by the medical first responders.

Radio traffic intensified Monday afternoon when a thunderstorm passed through Castle Valley and the rest of the county. Reports of lightning-related fires flowed into dispatch centers as the storm passed through the area causing fire agencies to send fire crews in all directions to battle blazes that were reported. All of the small fires that ranged in size from a single tree to an acre seemed to be in remote areas and not a threat to structures or people. They were reported from the Pack Creek and Loop Road area to locations along Interstate 70 from the state line to near Green River.

Even though lightning strikes were seen all around us and many were reported in Castle Valley, there were no fires. Local fire officials patrolled the valley in search of smoke during the storm and engines were started up and ready to go at Station 2 as a precaution. The storm dropped nearly a quarter of an inch of moisture in my rain gauge, but officially Bob Russell measured over a half of an inch of rain at his weather station. Bob Lippman, however, reported three-quarters of an inch at his place in the upper 80 section of the valley. Even though water was running in the ditches, there were no reports of flooding.