Search on for stranded motorists following flash floods in California’s Death Valley

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

Emergency workers are searching for stranded motorists and clearing roads inside California’s Death Valley National Park after flash flooding triggered by a near-record downpour over one of the hottest, driest spots on Earth has stranded nearly 1,000 people inside the park and forced its temporary closure, officials said.

About 60 cars belonging to park visitors and staff were buried in several feet of debris at the Inn at Death Valley, an historic luxury hotel near the park headquarters in Furnace Creek, site of a spring-fed oasis near the Nevada border, the park said in a statement.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.


Floodwaters also pushed trash dumpsters into parked cars, shoving vehicles into each other, and swamped many facilities, some hotel rooms and business offices, it said.

A view shows debris from monsoonal rains and immobilized cars, belonging to visitors and park staff in Death Valley National Park, at the Inn at Death Valley, California, US, on August 5, 2022. (Reuters)
A view shows debris from monsoonal rains and immobilized cars, belonging to visitors and park staff in Death Valley National Park, at the Inn at Death Valley, California, US, on August 5, 2022. (Reuters)

No injuries were reported. But about 500 visitors and 500 park staff were temporarily unable to leave the park because all roads into and out of Death Valley were closed, according to the statement.

After work by emergency crews, authorities escorted the cars out of the area.

Authorities are conducting aerial searches for stranded motorists but said they have not received reports of stranded cars, Death Valley National Park wrote on its Facebook page.

They expect to reopen a particularly damaged area of Highway 190 by Tuesday (August 9).

The flooding was unleashed by a torrential shower that dumped 1.46 inches (3.7 cm) of rain at Furnace Creek, nearly matching the previous daily record there of 1.47 inches measured from a downpour in 1988, park spokesperson Amy Wines said.

A view shows the monsoonal rain flooded in Death Valley National Park, California, U.S., August 5, 2022 in this screengrab obtained from a video. (Reuters)
A view shows the monsoonal rain flooded in Death Valley National Park, California, U.S., August 5, 2022 in this screengrab obtained from a video. (Reuters)

By comparison, the park averages 2.2 inches of rainfall per year, making it the driest place in North America. Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth, 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees C), Wines said.

Flash floods from monsoonal rains are a natural part of Death Valley's ecology and occur somewhere in the park almost every year, constantly carving and reshaping its dramatic canyon landscape. But flooding of a scale seen Friday (August 5) last struck Death Valley in August 2004, forcing a 10-day closure of all its roads and killing two people whose vehicle was swept away, according to Wines.

Read more: Kentucky floods kill at least 26, including children, number to keep rising: Governor

Top Content Trending