‘Unprecedented’ rain, flooding shuts Death Valley park, swallowing cars, stranding hundreds

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Death Valley National Park, famous for its parched, otherworldly landscapes, closed completely Friday due to historic rainfall and flash flooding. About 500 visitors and 500 staff members were stuck in the park after the closures, with no major injuries reported, though about 60 vehicles were damaged.

The park experienced “unprecedented amounts of rainfall” of 1.46 inches measured at Furnace Creek, which caused substantial flooding. The rainfall total is in line with the previous daily record of 1.47 inches.

No additional rainfall is expected Friday, but the incident marks the second time flash flooding has been seen in park this week. On Monday, flooding affected many roads, and a Facebook post from the park showed a vehicle buried up to its headlights in dirt and gravel.

“The flood waters pushed dumpster containers into parked cars, which caused cars to collide into one another,” the park said in a statement. “Additionally, many facilities are flooded including hotel rooms and business offices.”

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