Death Valley National Park announced its closure on Friday due to significant flooding within the park, a step Press release.
“All roads in and out of the park are currently closed and will remain closed until park staff assess the extent of the situation,” the National Park Service said Friday.
About 500 visitors and 500 employees were at the park Friday, according to the agency, and stranded visitors could leave if they wanted to. No injuries were reported.
National Park Service public affairs officer Abby Wines told CNN Friday that many visitors to Death Valley National Park have voluntarily left the park.
Despite the road closure, Wines says “no one is stopping” visitors from finding a way out of the park.
At The Inn at Death Valley, about 60 cars belonging to visitors and staff were buried under the rubble, according to a news release.
The park received 1.46 inches of rain, the second-wettest day since records began in 1911, missing the record by 1.47 inches, according to CNN meteorologist Bethram Javaheri.
This is nearly 70% of Death Valley’s average rainfall and 1,300% more than its average August rainfall.
In 61 of 111 years, the valley’s annual rainfall has not reached Friday’s level, Javaheri said.
According to Javaheri, an inch of rain fell in less than an hour, which happens on average once in 1,000 years.
Before Friday, Death Valley had recorded just 0.04 inches of rain in 2022, the driest start to July since 1953.
Wines said it was unclear when the roads would reopen. The park was closed Saturday because several roads were “severely damaged” by the storm, according to the California Department of Transportation.
“Drivers should not attempt to get around any closures to access the park,” Caltrans said Upgrade.
Highway 190, which crosses the park from west to east, will be closed throughout the weekend as crews work to clean it up, the update said.
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