Loss of life Valley drenched by a document flood, stranding about 1,000 within the park


Death Valley National Park was closed on Saturday after exceptional amounts of rain drenched the park on Friday, causing flash flooding that left about 1,000 visitors and park staff stranded.

The park received 1.46 inches of rain at the Furnace Creek area – just shy of the previous calendar day record of 1.47 inches, set on April 15, 1988. This is about three-quarters of what the area normally receives i average year1.94 inches, which is the most ever recorded in August. The lowest, driest and hottest location in the United States, Death Valley averages only 0.11 inches of rain in August.

On Saturday morning, “everything is going well,” said Nikki Jones, a restaurant assistant at the park’s Ranch Inn, who also lives there and post a video of the floods from her colleague on Twitter. Jones told The Washington Post that the flooding subsided Friday afternoon, but light debris remains on the roads.

“CalTrans has done a great job getting it cleared up as quickly as possible,” she told The Post in a Twitter message. “I drove on the roads today.”

Jones said some people are stuck at the Inn at the Oasis because of stuck cars, “but people are able to get out of the park today.”

“Flooding pushed dumpster containers into parked cars, causing cars to collide,” the National Park Service said in a statement Friday. “Also, many facilities are underwater including hotel rooms and business offices.

The NPS did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for an update Saturday morning.

The torrent was fueled by the South West monsoon, which develops every summer as prevailing winds shift from the west to the south, drawing the moisture surge from the north. This moisture can trigger vigorous downpours that evoke the prairie desert landscape. Because there is little soil to soak up the rain, any measurable rainfall can cause flooding in low-lying areas, and heavier rain can collect in normally dry ponds, triggering flash floods.

The South West monsoon this year has been particularly severe – which has helped alleviate drought conditions in the region but has also led to many significant flooding events. Surrounding areas have recently been affected by severe flooding Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Las Vegas floods send water gushing through casinos

The Death Valley flood also comes amid a series of extreme rainfall events across the Lower 48 states. During the week between the end of July and the beginning of August, three 1-in-1,000-year rainfall events occurred – St. Louis, Eastern Kentuckyand southeastern Illinois. Earlier this summer, Yellowstone National Park floods too.

How two 1-in-1,000 year rain events hit the United States in two days

Death Valley holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth, as well as several runners-up. Officially, Death Valley reached 134 degrees on July 10, 1913, but some climatologists have questioned the legitimacy of that reading. The next highest temperature on record, 131 degrees from Kebili, Tunisia, set July 7, 1931, is also controversial. Last summer and the summer before that, Death Valley hit 130 degrees, maybe the a pair of reliably measured highest temperatures in the world if the Tunisian 1931 and 1913 Death Valley readings are ignored.

Death Valley soars to 130 degrees, matching world’s highest temperature in at least 90 years

The rain flooded the field, trapping vehicles in debris, according to a video tweeted by John Sirlin, an Arizona-based storm. He wrote that roads were blocked by boulders and fallen palm trees, and visitors struggled to leave the park for six hours.

Earlier this week, flash flooding hit parts of western Nevada, forcing the closure of several roads leading to the park from Las Vegas. Flash flooding also hit parts of northern Arizona.

Flash flooding closes roads into Death Valley National Park

Sirlin told the Associated Press that the rain started Friday around 2 a.m. and was “more extreme than anything I’ve seen there.”

“There were at least two dozen cars that were hit and stuck in there,” he said, adding that he saw washes running several feet deep although he did not see anyone injured, and the NPS had not reported any injuries as of Friday .

last july, scanty summer rain also soaked Death Valley, bringing 0.74 inches per day at Furnace Creek about two weeks after the park set the world record for hottest average daily temperature, at 118.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

Desert spill: Rare summer rain soaked Death Valley and parts of California on Monday

Scientists say that human-caused climate warming is intensifying extreme precipitation events. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found some evidence that rainfall from the Southwest monsoon has increased since the 1970s.

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