Floods continue to wreak havoc across the US, most recently in California’s Death Valley National Park, where flash flooding caused by torrential rainfall has left 1,000 people stranded and cars crushed.
Park officials said the Furnace Creek area of the park, near the Nevada-California border, has received 1.7 inches of rain, which they described as “nearly an entire year’s worth of rain in one morning.”
The officials also said about 60 vehicles were buried in the torrential floods, and 500 park visitors and 500 park workers were stranded, although no injuries were reported.
The California Department of Transportation said it could take four to six hours to clear a main road out of the park so visitors can leave.
“All roads to and from the park are currently closed and will remain closed until park personnel can assess the extent of the situation,” the National Park Service said Friday.
Park officials at Death Valley National Park said flash floods that left 1,000 stranded were caused by ‘nearly an entire year’s worth of rain in one morning’
The Furnace Creek area of the park, near the Nevada-California border, has experienced an unprecedented 1.7 inches of rain
60 vehicles also perished during the floods, as they collided and were hit by floating dumpsters
A park statement said Friday’s torrential rains and flooding “pushed garbage containers into parked cars, causing cars to collide.”
“In addition, many facilities are under water, including hotel rooms and corporate offices,” the statement continues.
The park also confirmed that a water system serving park residents and offices went down after a line being repaired broke due to the flooding.
Before Friday’s rain, the notoriously dry park had only had 0.04 inches of rain in 2022, making it a historically dry year.
The rain started at about 2 a.m., park visitor and photographer John Sirlin told CBS. Sirlin tried to take pictures of lightning as the storm approached.
“It was more extreme than anything I’ve seen there,” he said. Sirlin has been visiting the park since 2016 and has been chasing storms since the 1990s.
This panoramic image from the handout courtesy of Death Valley National Park Service shows monsoon rains flooding Mud Canyon in Death Valley National Park, California on August 5, 2022.
Before Friday’s rain, the notoriously dry park had only had 0.04 inches of rain in 2022
The damaged intersection of Kelbacker Road and Mojave Road in the Mojave National Preserve, California; photo taken on Sunday 31 July 2022
‘I’ve never seen it so bad that entire trees and boulders were washed away. The sound of some of the rocks coming off the mountain was just incredible,” he said Friday afternoon.
The flash flood warning for the park was removed just after noon Friday, but a flood advisory remains in effect, according to the National Weather Service.
Experts say the ever-increasing concentrations of heat-trapping gases, mainly from fossil fuel combustion, have led to an increase in average temperatures by 1.1 degrees Celsius, or two degrees Fahrenheit, every year since the beginning of the industrial Revolution.
And with every degree Celsius, the temperature rises, the air can hold 7 percent more moisture, leading to more severe storms.
To make matters worse, floods linked to sea level rise are already on the rise, according to an annual report report released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“There are now effects on sea level rise and they are increasing rapidly,” William Sweet explains in the report, noting that rising sea levels could exacerbate storm flooding, pushing more ocean water onto land.
The salt water could also fill underground drainage pipes, meaning rainwater could accumulate and collect in the streets.
The report estimates that floods could send water to neighborhoods for tens of days a year by 2050.