We've never seen anything quite like this before.
The Mojave National Preserve, a vast landmass teeming with mountain lions, coyotes and bats just an hour's drive south of Las Vegas, was battered by several inches of rainfall last week, resulting in rocks, sand, and debris blocking several of its major roadways.
The washout resulted in the unlucky driver of what appears to be a Tesla Model 3 — who clearly ignored warnings from preserve officials — having the front of their vehicle seemingly swallowed up by the earth, as seen in an amazing picture shared by the preserve on Twitter.
It's a particularly raw example of the power of nature, especially when unusually heavy weather forces are involved. The Mojave desert has been battered by unusually heavy monsoonal rains, forcing the National Park Service (NPS) into flood recovery overdrive.
Travelers should not bypass road closures. Do not drive into flooded areas, turn around, don’t drown. One vehicle was recently trapped in a wash on North Kelbaker, and though the occupants were not injured, the vehicle had to be abandoned. pic.twitter.com/WNdVOHbsII
— Mojave National Preserve (@MojaveNPS) August 26, 2022
Several roads in the region had to be closed, with the Mojave National Preserve issuing a very clearly worded warning.
In a tweet accompanying the picture of the stuck Model 3, the preserve warned that "travelers should not bypass road closures."
"Do not drive into flooded areas, turn around, don’t drown," reads the slightly annoyed-sounding statement reads.
Fortunately, though, "the occupants were not injured," though the Preserve did say the vehicle had to be abandoned, in an expensive price to pay.
Flash floods are bad news in extremely dry areas like the Mojave, often because dry soil can't take up moisture at the pace of earth that isn't parched.
"The rapid introduction of so much rain in a short amount of time to the dry, arid environment, caused flash floods," explains the NPS. "These flash floods severely impacted many of the preserve’s paved roads, covering them in mud and debris."
As a result, the NPS is advising travelers to drive cautiously, especially in bad weather. The area is also expanding enhanced law enforcement operations to curtail speeding within the Preserve's borders.
So there's your warning: consult the weather reports and check in with the NPS before your upcoming road trip to Joshua Tree — or run the risk of getting seriously stuck.
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