Flash flooding in Death Valley National Park caused by heavy rains on Friday buried cars, forced authorities to close all roads into and out of the park, and trapped about 1,000 people, authorities said.
The park, which is located near the California-Nevada border, received at least 1.7 inches (4.3 centimeters) of rain in the Furnace Creek area, which park officials said represented “the rain of a whole year in a single morning”.
The average annual rainfall in the park is 4.8 centimeters (1.9 in).
About 60 vehicles were buried by debris, and about 500 visitors and 500 park workers were unable to get out, park authorities said. The California Department of Transportation estimated that it would take between four and six hours to open a road that would allow visitors to leave the park.
This is the second major flood in the park this week. Some roads were closed Monday after they were covered in mud and debris from flash flooding that hit western Nevada and northern Arizona hard.
During storms on Friday, “floodwaters pushed dumpsters into parked cars, causing cars to crash into each other. Additionally, many facilities are flooded, including hotel rooms and business offices,” the park statement said.