Flash flooding triggered by a near-record downpour on Friday over one of the hottest, driest spots on Earth, has stranded nearly 1,000 people inside California’s Death Valley National Park and forced its temporary closure, park officials said.
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, 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 unable to leave the park because all roads into and out of Death Valley were closed, according to the statement.
Major flash flooding in Death Valley National Park this morning. Approximately two dozen vehicles trapped in mud and rock debris at the Inn at Death Valley. Took nearly 6 hours to get out. #cawx #stormhour pic.twitter.com/3rDFUgY7ws— John Sirlin (@SirlinJohn) August 5, 2022
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.
Now it’s Death Valley being hit by absolutely massive flooding. The time to change everything is right now. pic.twitter.com/97r1UyYxZN— Read Wobblies and Zapatistas (@JoshuaPotash) August 6, 2022