Death Valley National Park suffered from record rainfall, flash floods, as a result of which thousands of visitors and workers were left without a place

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DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, CA — Record rainfall Friday caused flash floods in Death Valley National Park that swept away cars, closed all roads and stranded hundreds of visitors and workers.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but about 60 vehicles were buried in mud and debris, and about 500 visitors and 500 park workers were trapped in the park, officials said.

In the park near the California-Nevada border, 1.46 inches (3.71 centimeters) of rain fell in the Fern Creek area. That’s about 75% of what the area usually gets in a year, and more than it’s ever seen in the entire month of August.

Since 1936, the only day with more rain was April 15, 1988, when 1.47 inches (3.73 centimeters) fell, park officials said.

“Entire trees and boulders were washed away,” said John Sirlin, an Arizona adventure photographer who witnessed the flooding while perched on a hillside boulder trying to photograph lightning as the storm approached.

“The noise from some of the rocks coming down the mountain was just incredible,” he said in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Park officials did not immediately respond to requests for an update Friday night.

The storm follows another major flood earlier this week in the park 120 miles (193 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas. Some roads were closed Monday after they were inundated with mud and debris from flash flooding that also hit western Nevada and northern Arizona.

According to Sirlin, who lives in Chandler, Arizona, the rain started around 2 a.m. Friday and has been visiting the park since 2016.

“It was more extreme than anything I’ve seen out there,” said Sirlin, lead guide for Incredible Weather Adventures, who began chasing storms in Minnesota and the high plains in the 1990s.

“Many of the washes were several feet deep. There are rocks, probably 3-4 feet, covering the road,” he said.

Serlin said it took him about 6 hours to drive about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the park near the hotel in Death Valley.

“There were at least two dozen cars that were wrecked and stuck,” he said, adding that he did not see anyone injured “or any rescuers in the high water.”

During Friday’s downpours, “flooding pushed trash cans into parked cars, causing cars to collide with each other. In addition, many properties were flooded, including hotel rooms and business offices,” the park said in a statement.

The water system that supplies it to the park’s residents and offices also failed after a line ruptured while it was being repaired, the statement said.

A flash flood warning for the park and surrounding areas expired at 12:45 a.m. Friday, but the flash flood warning remained in effect into the evening, the National Weather Service said.

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Death Valley National Park suffered from record rainfall, flash floods, as a result of which thousands of visitors and workers were left without a place

Source link Death Valley National Park suffered from record rainfall, flash floods, as a result of which thousands of visitors and workers were left without a place