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Hundreds stranded in Death Valley National Park amid flooding able to leave

ABC News logo ABC News 8/6/2022
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All roads in and out of Death Valley National Park remain closed Saturday after unprecedented amounts of rainfall caused substantial flooding in the area, park officials said.

Highway 190 is expected to reopen between Furnace Creek and Pahrump by Tuesday, the officials said.

Approximately 500 visitors and 500 staff who were unable to exit the park, which straddles the California-Nevada border, have been able to leave the area, officials said in a statement. No injuries to staff or visitors have been reported. There are no more reported stranded visitors on park roadways.

Unprecedented rainfall caused California's Death Valley National Park to close to visitors on Aug. 5, 2022. © Death Valley National Park Unprecedented rainfall caused California's Death Valley National Park to close to visitors on Aug. 5, 2022.

Officials said Saturday that in most areas, water has receded, leaving behind extensive mud and gravel deposits.

The California Department of Transportation said that it expects it will take several hours to open a road on Highway 190 east of the park to allow an exit, park officials said.

Dozens of cars belonging to visitors and staff are buried in several feet of debris and many facilities are flooded, including hotel rooms and business offices.

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Additionally, the Cow Creek water system, which provides water to the Cow Creek area for park residents and offices, has failed, according to park officials. A major break in the line due to the flooding is being repaired, officials said.

The park received at least 1.46 inches of rain in the Furnace Creek area in a day, almost an entire year’s worth of rain in one morning, as the park’s annual average is 1.9 inches of rainwater, the park reported.

Unprecedented rainfall caused California's Death Valley National Park to close to visitors on Aug. 5, 2022. © Death Valley National Park Unprecedented rainfall caused California's Death Valley National Park to close to visitors on Aug. 5, 2022.

This was the second-highest amount of rainfall in a day at Furnace Creek, just behind 1.47 inches recorded on April 15, 1988.

The park is working with the California Department of Transportation, and state and county emergency services on assessing the situation and damage.

This is the second flooding event in the park this week. Some roads in and out of Death Valley were closed Monday after flash floods over the weekend inundated the roads with mud and debris, according to The Associated Press.

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