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Hundreds stranded in Death Valley National Park amid flooding

(NEW YORK) — All roads in and out of Death Valley National Park are closed after unprecedented amounts of rainfall caused substantial flooding in the area, park officials said Friday.

Approximately 500 visitors and 500 staff are currently unable to exit the park, which straddles the California-Nevada border, the officials said in a statement. No injuries to staff or visitors have been reported.

The California Department of Transportation 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.

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, 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.

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.

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