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Flash Flood Strands 1,000 People in Death Valley National Park

Flash floods in Death Valley National Park caused by heavy rains on buried vehicles on Friday forced authorities to close all roads inside and outside the park. Officials said 1,000 people were stranded. ..

The park near the California-Nevada border has rained at least 4.3 centimeters in the Furnace Creek area. Park officials said in a statement that they represented "almost a year's worth of rain in one morning." The average annual rainfall in the park is 4.8 cm.

Park officials said about 60 vehicles were buried in debris, leaving about 500 visitors and 500 park workers stranded. There were no immediate reports of injuries, and the California Department of Transportation estimated that it would take four to six hours to open a road that park visitors could leave.

It was the second major flood event in the park this week. Some roads were closed on Monday after being flooded with flash flood mud and debris that struck western Nevada and northern Arizona.

Rain began around 2 am, said John Sarlin, a photographer from an Arizona-based adventure company, on a rock on a hillside trying to take a picture of lightning as the storm approached. He said he sat down and witnessed the flood. ..

"It was more extreme than what I saw there," said Sarlin, who lives in Chandler, Arizona and has been visiting the park since 2016. He is the lead guide for Incredible Weather Adventures, saying: He began chasing storms in Minnesota and the plateau in the 1990s.

"I haven't seen it until the trees and the whole rock were washed away. The noise from some of the rocks coming down the mountain was just incredible," he said Friday afternoon. Said in a telephone interview.

"A lot of laundry was flowing at a depth of a few feet. There are probably 3 or 4 feet (1 to 1.2 meters) of rock covering the road," he said.

Sarlin said it took about 6 hours to get about 56 kilometers away from the park near the Death Valley Inn.

"There were at least 20 cars crushed and stuck there," he said, adding that no injured or high-level rescuers were seen.

During the storm on Friday, "The flood pushed garbage containers into parked cars and they collided with each other. In addition, many facilities such as hotel rooms and sales offices were flooded." A statement from the park said.

The statement also states that the water system, which provides a water supply system for park residents and offices, also broke down after the line being repaired broke.

Flash flood warnings for the park and surrounding areas expired at 12:45 pm on Friday, but flood recommendations were valid until evening, the National Weather Service said.