Death Valley sees nearly a year’s worth of rain in three hours, officials say

(KTNV) — Officials say that Death Valley saw almost a year’s worth of rainfall within three hours last weekend.

They say that the rain caused widespread damage, and closure of all park roads.

“The heavy rain that caused the devastating flooding at Death Valley was an extremely rare, 1000-year event,” says Daniel Berc, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Las Vegas. “A 1000-year event doesn’t mean it happens once per 1000 years, rather that there is a 0.1% chance of occurring in any given year.”

Additionally, many miles of roadway are known to have moderate to severe asphalt damage with hundreds of miles of roadways impacted by debris. Road conditions are still being assessed, as damage makes access to some areas impossible by vehicle.

To date, there is said to be no injuries reported from visitors or park residents, and people who were previously sheltering in place have been able to carefully travel out through the damaged roadways. No park roads are currently open because of ongoing safety concerns and active road work.

“Death Valley is an incredible place of extremes,” said park superintendent 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!”

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