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Soggy sand

QUICK TAKES | Wild weather leaves tourists wishing they had packed their ponchos


National Park Service/AP

Soggy sand
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This time, it wasn’t the lack of water causing problems in one of the world’s driest locations, but rather an abundance. An Aug. 5 rainstorm unleashed wild flash flooding in California’s Death Valley National Park and led park officials to close the site. A weather station near Furnace Creek recorded 1.46 inches of rainfall—just slightly below the park’s single-day record set in 1988. The recent rainstorm delivered about three-­quarters of the park’s average annual rainfall in a single day and accounted for more than 13 times the amount of rain Death Valley typically sees in August. In a statement issued after the unusual weather, park officials said floodwaters swept dumpsters into parked cars and left roads impassable. About 1,000 people—half visitors, half park staffers—were temporarily stranded before workers could clear roadways. Park service employees reported no injuries.

Popcorn surprise

When Kimberly Slaughter grabbed a bag of popcorn at a Lunenburg County, Va., grocery store, she discovered what she believed to be mouse feces on the bag. Looking for another, cleaner bag of popcorn, Slaughter found one with a hole in the top. Slaughter decided to take the opened bag to a store employee, so she put it in her shopping cart. That’s when she saw a snake pop out of the bag. “It was the full length of the cart,” Slaughter told WTVR, adding that a friend speculated it was a rat snake. Slaughter said she believed the snake was attracted by the rodents: “It had prime real estate.”

Kindle acting buggy?

When Mariana Vieira’s Kindle wouldn’t fire up after charging for weeks, she blew into the charging port hoping to resolve the issue. Instead, a swarm of ants crawled out. Later, Vieira began receiving emails from Amazon confirming the purchase of books. According to Vieira, the ants inside her Kindle had tripped the one-click purchase mechanism. Vieira said she quickly altered her Amazon account to deactivate one-click purchases and placed the Kindle in the freezer to kill the ants.

No sampling allowed

Patrons of Hong Kong’s annual gourmet food exposition once again had to return home with empty stomachs. Due to fears of spreading coronavirus, public health officials in China took ­eating off the menu for this year’s five-day Food Expo that began Aug. 11. This marks the second consecutive year that patrons of the expo have been able to see and smell food but not taste the gourmet fare. Patrons were allowed to sip water in designated areas but had to wear face masks between sips.

Load of tripe

Residents of a Houston neighborhood were left gagging when a box truck carrying cow intestines spilled its guts into a city intersection. The incident occurred Aug. 3, when temperatures in the Texas city reached 99 degrees. Smeared across the hot pavement, the beef intestines left nearby residents barely able to breath. “Most people are walking around gagging,” Jerry Benoit told KHOU. Another motorist, Tahj Scott, told the station she had to drive through the mess. When the smell followed her, she discovered some of the viscera had lodged beneath her vehicle. City crews cleaned up the mess, but locals said the smell lingered.

Canceled chase

Is it a car chase if no one is chasing? A California motorist opted to surrender to authorities after a prolonged car chase only to discover police had long since given up pursuit. Los Angeles TV station KTLA covered the Aug. 4 chase with the help of the ­station’s helicopter. Initially California Highway Patrol squad cars pursued the white Kia through downtown LA. Later, LAPD officials took over the chase. But after the Kia driver began running red lights, officers backed off, worried the pursuit had created a dangerous situation. But no one let the suspect know. Eventually, the driver pulled into a grocery store parking lot, exited the vehicle, lay on the ground, and put his hands above his head. When no one arrested him, he got up and left.

Tickets for your trouble

Treasure hunters who fished ammunition and explosives out of a Georgia river received fines rather than congratulations for their good deed. In June, Bryce Nachtwey uploaded a video to his popular YouTube channel of magnets pulling metal objects out of a waterway in Fort Stewart, Ga. The group discovered ammunition belts, tank tracer rounds, and even a Delta Air Lines duffel bag containing 86 rockets. Nachtwey called authorities after discovering the ordnance near the military base. Rather than reward the men, a federal agent issued the group tickets and a Sept. 9 federal court date for unlawful fishing.

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