“Unprecedented” rain and flooding shut Demise Valley Nationwide Park

Death Valley National Park, famous for its parched, otherworldly landscapes, was completely closed on Friday due to historic rains and flash flooding, stranding about 500 visitors and 500 park employees after the closure.

There were no major injuries, but about 60 cars were damaged.

The park experienced an “unprecedented rainfall” of 1.46 inches measured at Furnace Creek, which caused major flooding. The rainfall total is slightly below the previous daily record of 1.47 inches.

In total, the park receives nearly three-quarters of the year’s rainfall, averaging 2 inches of precipitation per year.

No additional rainfall is expected on Friday, but this incident marks the second time this week that the park has been hit by flash flooding. Flooding affected many roads on Monday, and a Facebook post from the park showed a vehicle buried up to its headlights in mud and gravel.

Sunny and hot conditions are expected to return to Death Valley this weekend, with highs in the 80s and 90s.

Heavy rain flooded a road in the Mud Canyon area of ​​Death Valley National Park on Friday.

(National Park Service)

“Flood water pushed trash containers into parked cars, causing cars to collide with each other,” the park said in a statement. “In addition, many facilities are flooded, including hotel rooms and business offices.

Park officials noted that most of the damaged vehicles were in the parking lot.

As of Friday night, most visitors remained in the developed area of ​​the park, while some were able to leave the park as crews were able to create temporary roads by moving mounds of gravel.

“All roads in and out of the park are currently closed and will remain closed until park staff assess the extent of the situation,” the park said in a statement.

Some roads are expected to take around six hours to reopen from Friday morning. However, at 6 p.m. all roads have been closed and it is unclear when they will reopen.

The last time a shutdown of this magnitude occurred in Death Valley was in 2004. in August when a storm caused flash flooding, said Abby Wines, Death Valley public information officer. The total rainfall for this incident is unknown.

The park has not been open for 10 days, Wines said.

Friday’s flooding comes a week after monsoon rains unleashed water in another notoriously dry region, Las Vegas Strip, flooding the casino floor and knocking down numerous trees. The flooding in Vegas was accompanied by wind gusts of up to 70 mph.

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