Aug 05, 2022
California News | Flash floods strand 1,000 people in Death Valley
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DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK — Flash flooding at Death Valley National Park triggered by heavy rainfall on Friday buried cars, forced officials to close all roads in and out the park and stranded about 1,000 people, officials said.
The park near the California-Nevada state line received at least 1.7 inches (4.3 centimeters) of rain at the Furnace Creek area, which park officials in a statement said represented “nearly an entire year’s worth of rain in one morning.” The park’s average annual rainfall is 1.9 inches (4.8 centimeters).
About 60 vehicles were buried in debris and about 500 visitors and 500 park workers were stranded, park officials said. There were no immediate reports of injuries and the California Department of Transportation estimated it would take four to six hours to open a road that would allow park visitors to leave.
It was the second major flooding event at the park this week. Some roads were closed Monday after they were inundated with mud and debris from flash floods that also hit western Nevada and northern Arizona hard.
The rain started around 2 a.m., said John Sirlin, a photographer for an Arizona-based adventure company who witnessed the flooding as he perched on a hillside boulder where he was trying to take pictures of lightning as the storm approached.
“It was more extreme than anything I’ve seen there,” said Sirlin, who lives in Chandler, Arizona, and has been visiting the park since 2016. He is the lead guide for Incredible Weather Adventures and said he started chasing storms in Minnesota and the high plains in the 1990s.
“I’ve never seen it to the point where entire trees and boulders were washing down. The noise from some of the rocks coming down the mountain was just incredible,” he said in a phone interview Friday afternoon.
“A lot of washes were flowing several feet deep. There are rocks probably 3 or 4 feet covering the road,” he said.
Sirlin said it took him about 6 hours to drive about 35 miles (56 kilometers) out of the park from near the Inn at Death Valley.
“There were at least two dozen cars that got smashed and stuck in there,” he said, adding that he didn’t see anyone injured “or any high water rescues.”
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A water system that provides it for park residents and offices also failed after a line broke that was being repaired, the statement said.
A flash flood warning for the park and surrounding area expired at 12:45 p.m., Friday but a flood advisory remained in effect into the evening, the National Weather Service said.
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Man charged with murder of girl, 13, after ‘ramming car into a crowd of people’
A 52-year-old man allegedly drove his car into a crowd at in Mount Isa, north-west Queensland, in the early hours of Saturday.1Emergency services rushed to the suburb of Pioneer in Mount Isa early this morningCredit: Google Maps
It is claimed there was a large disturbance in the suburb of Pioneer involving multiple people at around 2am.
It is further alleged that a man drove a vehicle directly into the group, striking the 13-year-old.
Emergency services rushed to her help, but the teen could sadly not be saved.
The unnamed girl died of significant head injuries at the scene, police confirmed.Read more World NewsMUM'S TORTURE Hero Ukrainian mum was starved and beaten while imprisoned by RussiansOH CHUTE! Watch daredevil 'one second from death' as he plummets 2,600ft in tangled chute
The man who was charged with murder, a local, will appear in court on Monday.
Meanwhile police are investigating the incident and speaking to several families in the community.
Detective Inspector Dave Barron said: "I can assure the community that we are taking this matter very seriously and investigating this intensively."
"Our sympathy goes out to the family and the community who are feeling … grief at this time."
Police have urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online.
A local told the Courier Mail her shock at the incident.
She said: "It's one of those things that really shakes you.
"It would be horrible regardless of who was involved but when it's a young girl it is really bad."
Tragically, this is the town's second hit-and-run of the weekend, after two pedestrians were hospitalised by a stolen vehicle in the early hours of Friday.Most read in US NewsHUNTING KILLER JonBenét Ramsey murder suspects narrowed down as investigators get key leadsCARRIER KILLERS China ‘rehearsing sinking US aircraft carriers with hypersonic missiles'TRAGIC LOSS Infant and pregnant mom pictured after video showed horror crash that killed 6JAWS OF DEATH Terrifying images of huge 9ft shark on US beach after 6 attacks in two weeks