Hundreds of people sheltered in place at Death Valley National Park in California after the remnants of Tropical Storm Hilary dumped a “year’s worth of rain” into the park in one day, officials said.
The record rainfall caused catastrophic floods that washed out roads and may have stranded people in remote areas of the park, National Park Service officials said in a Monday, Aug. 21 Facebook post.
Photos show the remnants of some park roads where chunks of asphalt were carried away by floodwaters. One shows a truck pushing muddy floodwaters and rocks from a dipped road between two hills.
Park rangers and officials from the California Highway Patrol spent Monday searching for anyone stranded by the flooding while Caltrans worked on clearing an exit route so an estimated 400 residents, travelers and employees sheltering in Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs could leave, officials said.
Officials aren’t sure when the first sections of the park might reopen.
“The unprecedented rain came in two bursts, with about an inch of rain Sunday morning and another inch of rain Sunday night,” officials said. “Preliminary data from the official National Weather Service rain gauge at Furnace Creek recorded 2.20 inches of rain — the park’s average annual rainfall. Once verified, this would be the single rainiest day in Furnace Creek history, beating the record of 1.7 inches set August 5, 2022.”
Even more rain fell in the mountains, officials added.
National Park Service officials closed the park on Aug. 20 and posted a video of muddy rivers forming, saying Hurricane Hilary was “forecasted to cause heavy rain for the next several days, so conditions are expected to worsen.”
“For your safety, please do not attempt to enter the park,” officials said.
Last year, a torrential downpour stranded 1,000 visitors and workers and washed out roads on Aug. 5, McClatchy News reported.
A little more than a month later, storms brought on by Hurricane Kay caused flooding that trapped cars and closed roads on Sept. 10, McClatchy News reported.
https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article278466294.html Hundreds shelter in Death Valley as park shuts down for floods