DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (AP) – Record rainfall on Friday triggered flash floods at 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 roughly 60 vehicles were buried in mud and debris and about 500 visitors and 500 park workers were stuck inside the park, officials said.
The park near the California-Nevada state line received 1.46 inches of rain at the Furnace Creek area. That’s about 75 per cent of what the area typically gets in a year and more than has ever been recorded for the entire month of August. Since 1936, the only single day with more rain was April 15, 1988, when 1.47 inches fell, park officials said.
“Entire trees and boulders were washing down,” said a photographer for an adventure company John Sirlin, who witnessed the flooding as he perched on a hillside boulder where he was trying to take pictures of 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 on Friday afternoon.
Park officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for an update on Friday night.
The storm followed another major flooding event earlier this week at the park.
Some roads were closed on Monday after they were inundated with mud and debris from flash floods that also hit western Nevada and northern Arizona hard.