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Hundreds of employees and guests were trapped in a National Park after monsoons caused major flooding that prevented them from escaping Friday morning, park administrators said.
Heavy rains pushed dirt and debris onto the roads around Death Valley National Park, making them impassable and forcing officials to close the park. The National Park Service (NPS) said the decision trapped 500 employees and 500 visitors inside.
“There are currently about 500 visitors and 500 staff members unable to leave the park. No injuries to staff or visitors have been reported,” the National Park Service said in a statement Friday.
“On August 5, 2022, unprecedented amounts of rain caused significant flooding in Death Valley National Park. All roads into and out of the park are currently closed and will remain closed until park personnel can assess the extent of the situation,” the statement added. .
RESIDENTS IN CALIFORNI, ARIZONA FORCED TO EVACUATE AS WILDFIRES BURN
The California Department of Transportation said the road clearing would take several hours pending cooperative weather, the statement said.
“About 60 cars, belonging to visitors and staff, are buried in several yards of rubble in the Inn at Death Valley,” NPS said. “The flood waters pushed dumpsters into parked cars, causing cars to collide. In addition, many facilities are under water, including hotel rooms and corporate offices.”
“The Cow Creek Water system, which provides water to the Cow Creek area for park residents and offices, has failed. Park personnel have identified a major break in the line due to the flooding which is being repaired. Rest of line under inspection the statement said.
According to the NPS, the amount of rain the park experienced Friday, 1.46 inches, was about 75% of the amount of rain the area typically receives in a year.
It also nearly matches the daily record of 1.47 inches on April 15, 1988.
FIREFIGHTERS IN CALIFORNIA HELPS BY FAVORABLE WEATHER TO FIGHT FOREST FIRE
The park’s closure on Friday comes after flash floods on Monday disrupted travel on some roads along Highway 190 near Death Valley National Park.
“Remember: turn around, don’t drown!” the Death Valley National Park warned visitors.
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All park roads will remain closed from Friday. Also, the Sunset, Texas Spring and Stovepipe Wells Camprounds were closed.
Emergency services and the California Department of Transportation continue to assess the situation.
The The US Express News contributed to this report.