Some of the roughly 1,000 people stranded at Death Valley National Park have left despite flooding

“All roads into and out of the park are currently closed and will remain closed until park staff can assess the extent of the situation,” the National Park Service said Friday.

There were about 500 visitors and 500 staff at the park on Friday, the agency said, and stranded visitors can leave if they wish. No injuries were reported.

Abby Wines, public affairs officer for the National Park Service, told CNN on Friday that a number of visitors to Death Valley National Park voluntarily left the park.

Despite road closures, Wines says “nobody stops” visitors if they find a way out of the park.

At The Inn at Death Valley, about 60 cars belonging to visitors and staff are buried under debris, according to a news release.

The park received 1.46 inches of rain, the second wettest day since record-keeping began in 1911, missing the record 1.47 inches per drop, according to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

That’s nearly 70% of Death Valley’s average rainfall and more than 1,300% of its average August rainfall.

In 61 of the 111 years of record keeping, annual rainfall in the valley has not reached Friday’s amount, Javaheri said.

About an inch of rain fell in an hour, which happens on average every 1,000 years, according to Javaheri.

Before Friday, Death Valley had recorded just 0.04 inches of rain in 2022, the driest start to July since 1953, when no rain fell.

Wines says it’s unclear when the roads will reopen. The park remained closed on Saturday because many roads there were “severely damaged” by the storm, according to the California Department of Transportation.

“Drivers should not attempt to circumvent any closure to access the park,” Caltrans said in an update.

Highway 190, which runs through the park from west to east, will remain closed all weekend while crews work to clean it up, according to the update.


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