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Hundreds of hotel guests trapped by flash flooding at Death Valley National Park were able to drive out after crews cleared a pathway through rocks and mud, but roads damaged by floodwaters or choked with debris were expected to remain closed into next week, officials said Saturday.



The National Park Service said Navy and California Highway Patrol helicopters have been conducting aerial searches in remote areas for stranded vehicles, but had found none. However, it could take days to assess the damage — the park near near the California-Nevada state line has over 1,000 miles of roadway across 3.4 million acres.

No injuries were reported from the record-breaking rains Friday. The park weathered 1.46 inches of rain at the Furnace Creek area. That's about 75% of what the area typically gets in a year, and more than has ever been recorded for the entire month of August.

Since 1936, the only single day with more rain was April 15, 1988, when 1.47 inches fell, park officials said.

Highway 190 — a main artery through the park — is expected to reopen between Furnace Creek and Pahrump, Nevada, by Tuesday, officials said.

In most areas water has receded, leaving behind a dense layer of mud and gravel. About 60 vehicles were partially buried in mud and debris. There were numerous reports of road damage, and residential water lines in the park's Cow Creek area were broken in multiple locations. About 20 palm trees fell into the road near one inn, and some staff residences also were damaged.

The storm followed major flooding earlier this week at the park 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Some roads were closed Monday after they were inundated with mud and debris from flash floods that also hit western Nevada and northern Arizona.

Meanwhile, the heavy rainfall also drenched Las Vegas, where water poured into casino ceilings.

Several other national parks have endured severe flooding this summer. In June, Yellowstone saw historic levels of flooding that washed away many of the park's roads and forced tourists to evacuate. Some of the roads remain closed for repairs.

The National Park Service said most of its properties and surrounding towns have been impacted by climate change — from rising sea levels in Florida's Everglades to drought-fueled fires in California's Yosemite

Elsewhere, portions of Kentucky were battered by floods at the end of July. At least 35 people died, and hundreds lost their homes.

CBS News