Death Valley National Park: New storms close many roads again


(CNN) – Need more proof that it’s been a crazy summer weather-wise and travel-wise? Look no further than Death Valley National Park.

Due to excessive heat and extreme dryness, the US park cartel has once again had to close many of its roads, not because of high temperatures or dust storms. Instead, water is the culprit.

Another series of storms this week destroyed roads in the Death Valley region, according to a news release from the US National Park Service. Several storms have swept through the park since late July, and many roads that reopened after record rainfall in August have been closed again.

“Road crews are exhausted clearing and then re-clearing the same sections of road,” the NPS release said.

“It’s been an exciting few weeks with rain, record-setting heat, and even hurricane residue!” Superintendent Mike Reynolds said. “There are no more storms in the forecast. We hope to make real progress in opening the park soon.”

Which routes are closed?

As of Friday, the western entrance to the park was closed due to extensive damage to California Highway 190 on the west side of the park, which is mostly located in California with a small portion of neighboring Nevada.

This portion of CA-190 reopened for a few hours Tuesday, the release said, but an afternoon storm caused “much more significant damage than previous storms.”

Most paved roads to the park are closed. “The only way to the park is from the east, via Death Valley Junction and CA-190,” the statement said.

As of Friday morning, it was still possible to drive to the following features:

• Zabriskie Point
• Harmony Borax Works/Mustard Canyon
• Dantes View Road
• Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

You can get a more detailed NPS report of what opens and closes by clicking here.

This week, NPS road crews have been “concentrating on Badwater Road.” … Parts of the road have debris three meters thick. The shoulders have eroded away, leaving dangerous drop-offs. The park plans to open from CA-190. to Badwater Basin by September 24,” the release reads.

Why so many floods?

A little water can do a lot of damage in the desert. Here, cars are stuck in mud and debris from flooding at The Inn at Death Valley in Death Valley National Park on Aug. 5.

National Park Service/AP

August 5 was a particularly bad day for flooding in the park, when the Furnace Creek weather station recorded 1.7 inches of rain.

Some might be surprised that less than 2 inches of rain can make headlines; after all, places along the Gulf Coast can get a lot of rain in one day few notes But in arid regions, this rain can cause major floods.

The park received three-quarters of its annual average of 2.20 inches of rainfall in just a few hours on that day last month. That deluge washed hundreds of people ashore and closed the entire park.

CNN Weather’s seven-day forecast in fact, the park has nothing but sunny skies and high temperatures, ranging from 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius) to 102 F (39 C).