Flash Floods Close Death Valley National Park, CA

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US Park ranger
National Park Services have closed Death Valley National Park due to risk of flash flooding. | Picture: National Park Services

Due to Hurricane Hilary, Death Valley National Park, CA, is experiencing heavy rainfalls and flash flooding. Many roadways have already experienced significant debris flows, undercutting and complete shoulder loss. Flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be possible, with Inyo County expecting to receive rainfall amounts this weekend that are comparable to or exceeding average annual totals.

National Park Services (‘NPS’) closed Death Valley National Park, including State Road 190, due to impacts from Hurricane Hilary. NPS is urging people to stay at home and seek shelter. Please do not try to visit Death Valley National Park. The reopening date is pending further assessment.

Death Valley national park
Death Valley National Park. Credit: NPS

A flood watch was issued on August 20 at 2:00 p.m. and will remain in effect until August 22 5:00 a.m. The flood watch affects a portion of southeast California, including Death Valley National Park, Eastern Sierra Slopes, Owens Valley and White Mountains of Inyo County.

Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas. Area creeks and streams are running high and could flood with more heavy rain. Outdoor recreation will be very dangerous this weekend across Inyo County and is strongly ill-advised in Death Valley National Park.

NPS urges people to monitor forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued. Outdoor recreation is strongly discouraged during this time. 2.5 million people are currently residing in the high-risk zone.

Death Valley could see rainfalls of up to 3.5 inches by Tuesday — to put this in perspective, Death Valley’s wettest year on record saw 4.73 inches of rain.

Precipitation forecast until August 23, 2023. | Picture: weathermodels website

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