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TUESDAY, November 29, 2022
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Flash floods strand 1,000 people in California's Death Valley National Park

Flash floods strand 1,000 people in California's Death Valley National Park

SUNDAY, August 07, 2022

Emergency workers are searching for stranded motorists and clearing roads inside California's Death Valley National Park after flash flooding triggered by a near-record downpour over one of the hottest, driest spots on Earth has stranded nearly 1,000 people inside the park.

About 60 cars belonging to park visitors and staff were buried in several feet of debris at the Inn at Death Valley, an historic luxury hotel near the park headquarters in Furnace Creek, the site of a spring-fed oasis near the Nevada border, the park said in a statement.

Floodwaters also pushed trash dumpsters into parked cars, shoving vehicles into each other, and swamped many facilities, some hotel rooms and business offices, it said.

No injuries were reported. But about 500 visitors and 500 park staff were temporarily unable to leave the park because all roads into and out of Death Valley were closed, according to the statement. After work by emergency crews, authorities escorted the cars out of the area.

Authorities are conducting aerial searches for stranded motorists but said they have not received reports of stranded cars, Death Valley National Park wrote on its Facebook page.

They expect to reopen a particularly damaged area of Highway 190 by Tuesday.

The flooding was unleashed by a torrential shower that dumped 1.46 inches (3.7 cm) of rain at Furnace Creek, nearly matching the previous daily record there of 1.47 inches measured from a downpour in 1988, park spokesperson Amy Wines said.

By comparison, the park averages 2.2 inches of rainfall per year, making it the driest place in North America. Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth, 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees C), Wines said.

Flash floods from monsoonal rains are a natural part of Death Valley's ecology and occur somewhere in the park almost every year, constantly carving and reshaping its dramatic canyon landscape. But flooding of a scale seen Friday (August 5) last struck Death Valley in August 2004, forcing a 10-day closure of all its roads and killing two people whose vehicle was swept away, according to Wines.

 

 

 

 

 

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