Major flooding in California’s Death Valley on Friday stranded about 1,000 people, buried vehicles and shut down all roads into and out of the famously parched national park.
No injuries were reported, but about 60 vehicles were bogged down under debris, the US National Park Service said.
“Unprecedented amounts of rainfall caused substantial flooding,” the agency said in a statement, adding that “there are approximately 500 visitors and 500 staff currently unable to exit the park,” which is in eastern California’s Mojave Desert.
The surging floodwaters tore up sections of paved roads and pushed dumpster containers into parked vehicles, causing them to collide.
The rain also flooded offices and hotels, the park said.
The park service added that all roads serving the park would remain off-limits until officials can determine the extent of the damage.
A total of 3.7cm of rain fell in Death Valley’s Furnace Creek area, almost tying a previous daily record.
The average annual rainfall at the site is less than 5cm a year.
Higher temperatures caused by climate change mean the atmosphere holds more moisture, unleashing more rain.
UN climate experts say that even if the world manages to limit warming to 1.5°C, some regions would experience an increase in frequency, intensity and quantity of heavy rainfall.
The risk of heavy precipitation episodes increases with temperature rise.
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