Death Valley National Park Remains Closed Following Heavy Rains and Flooding

Death Valley National Park remains closed after the remnants of Hurricane Hilary delivered a year’s worth of rain in one day. An estimated 400 residents, travelers, and employees are sheltering in place at Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, and Panamint Springs until area roads are safely passable. It is not known when the first sections of the park will reopen.

The National Park Service (NPS) and California Highway Patrol are searching today for any stranded people in more remote areas of the park, and NPS teams are assessing on the ground impacts throughout the park. Caltrans and NPS are working to clear an exit route on CA-190 from Stovepipe Wells to Death Valley Junction so visitors and employees can safely exit the park.

The unprecedented rain came in two bursts, with about an inch of rain Sunday morning and another inch of rain Sunday night. Preliminary data from the official National Weather Service rain gauge at Furnace Creek recorded 2.20 inches of rain – the park’s average annual rainfall. Once verified, this would be the single rainiest day in Furnace Creek history beating the record of 1.7 inches set August 5, 2022. Higher amounts of rain fell in the mountains.

Rocks, mud and floodwater being cleared from highway 190 after heavy rains hit Death Valley National Park early evening August 20, 2023. Photo NPS

Southern California Edison restored the park’s electrical service at 1:30 pm on August 21, which also restored cell phone service.  The NPS land line telephones are still down. The park is also responding to a broken sewer line releasing raw sewage into the desert below Stovepipe Wells.

No additional information is available currently. Updates will be provided as they are available. –www.nps.gov/deva–  

Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural resources, cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery, and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet. Learn more at www.nps.gov/deva.  

Rocks, mud and floodwater being cleared from highway 190 after heavy rains hit Death Valley National Park early evening August 20, 2023. Photo: NPS