(Los Angeles) A decline in water levels and road rehabilitation work on Saturday evacuated 1,000 people who were stranded in the famous and desert Death Valley in California after intense and very rare rainfall, indicated national park officials.
“The hard work of road maintenance crews enabled visitors who could not leave the hotel area to drive out of the park, escorted by police,” a statement said.
Death Valley National Park is known to be the hottest place in the world and the driest place in North America, as stated on its website.
More than one and a half million tourists visit it every year.
About 500 visitors and 500 workers were stranded Friday in the US national park due to unprecedented rainfall that caused flooding.
All roads serving the national park, located in eastern California, remained closed on Saturday and aerial searches were underway to “ensure that no vehicle was stuck in a remote area of the park”, specifies the press release.
Water has receded across most of Death Valley, leaving behind large deposits of mud and gravel, park officials added, noting that damage assessments were still taking place.
On Friday, floodwaters tore up parts of the roadway, hurled garbage containers at now disused cars and flooded offices and hotels in the park.
The desert valley received 37 millimeters of rain at one time for an annual average total of “less than 50” millimeters.
“Due to the severity and extent of this rainfall, it will take time to rebuild and reopen everything,” park superintendent Mike Reynolds said Saturday.
With an atmosphere that contains more moisture, global warming alters the precipitation pattern. According to UN climate experts (IPCC), even if the world managed to limit warming to +1.5°C, some regions would experience an increase in frequency, intensity and/or quantity of heavy rainfall.
The risk of these heavy rain events increases with rising temperatures.