The National Park Service stated that severe flooding in California's Death Valley over the weekend was "an extremely rare, 1,000-year event," a Monday Facebook post revealed.
In a remarkable course of events, nearly one year's worth of rainfall fell onto the arid landscape over a short three-hour period. The result has been severe road damage throughout the area, making access to some of the park impossible by vehicle.
"The heavy rain that caused the devastating flooding at Death Valley was an extremely rare, 1,000-year event," said meteorologist Daniel Berc.
The news comes after Fox's KVVU-TV 5 reported on Saturday that around 1,000 people were stranded in the park or sheltering in place amid the rainfall. Although there appear to be no injuries, close to 60 cars were stranded under debris.
"Death Valley is an incredible place of extremes," said park overseer Mike Reynolds. "It is the hottest place in the world, and the driest place in North America. This week's 1,000-year flood is another example of this extreme environment. With climate change models predicting more frequent and more intense storms, this is a place where you can see climate change in action!"
According to the park service, roads in and out of Death Valley are expected to remain closed for days to months, with none currently open to recreational travel. Still, California expects to reopen portions of the highway surrounding the park by Tuesday.
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