Death Valley National Park, famous for its dry, otherworldly landscape, closed completely on Friday due to historic rains and flash floods, trapping nearly 500 visitors and 500 staff members at the park after the closure. reason.
There were no major casualties, although about 60 vehicles were damaged.
The park experienced an “unprecedented amount of rainfall” of 1.46 inches measured at Furnace Creek, which caused substantial flooding. Total rainfall is well below the previous daily record of 1.47 inches.
Overall it sees an annual average rainfall of 2 inches, which represents about three-quarters of a year’s rainfall for the park.
No additional rain is expected on Friday, but the incident marks the second flash flood in the park this week. On Monday, floods affected several roads, and a Facebook post from the park showed a vehicle buried in dirt and gravel with its headlights up.
Sunny and warm conditions are expected to return to Death Valley this weekend, peaking in the 80s and 90s.
“Flood water pushed dumpster containers into parked cars, causing the cars to collide,” the park said in a statement. “In addition, many facilities are flooded, including hotel rooms and business offices.”
Park officials said most of the vehicles damaged were in the parking lot.
As of Friday evening, most visitors remained in the developed area of the park, with some able to leave the park as crews managed to build temporary roadways by moving the gravel mound.
“All roads in and out of the park are currently closed and will remain closed until park staff assess the gravity of the situation,” the park said in a statement.
The reopening of some roads was expected to take about six hours from Friday morning. However, all roads remained closed till 6 pm and it was not clear when they would reopen.
Death Valley Public Information Officer Abby Vine said the last time this shape was closed in Death Valley was in August 2004, when a typhoon caused a flash flood. Rain totals for that event are unknown.
Vine said the park didn’t open for 10 days.
Friday’s floods come a week after monsoon rains sent water to another famously dry region, Las Vegas StripThe casino floors were flooded and many trees fell. Winds were gusting up to 70 mph along with floodwaters in Vegas.