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Flood-damaged Death Valley to reopen popular sites to public

Death Valley-Flooding
Posted at 10:52 AM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 13:52:23-04

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Death Valley National Park's most popular sites will reopen to the public on Saturday, two weeks after massive flash-flooding, but the National Park Service cautioned visitors to expect delays and continuing road closures.

Locations that will reopen include the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, and Mesquite Sand Dunes, according to the park's Facebook page.

Access to the park will be limited to State Route 190 and Panamint Valley Road.

Visitors were warned to plan ahead and not rely on GPS because all other paved roads will remain closed for repairs, and backcountry roads are still being assessed.

On Aug. 5, Death Valley was hit by historic downpours from monsoonal thunderstorms that caused millions of dollars in damage to roads and facilities.

Death Valley Flooding
In this photo provided by the National Park Service, cars are stuck in mud and debris from flash flooding at The Inn at Death Valley in Death Valley National Park, Calif., Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Heavy rainfall triggered flash flooding that closed several roads in Death Valley National Park on Friday near the California-Nevada line. The National Weather Service reported that all park roads had been closed after 1 to 2 inches of rain fell in a short amount of time. (National Park Service via AP)

This summer's very active monsoon has also damaged roads elsewhere in California's deserts, including Mojave National Preserve and the south side of Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree urged visitors to drive carefully and keep an eye out for desert tortoises because the water encourages them to emerge, and they can be mistaken for rocks on roadways.

California Desert Floods
In this photo provided by Mike Gauthier, recent rains have enabled many species of plant life to green up, allowing wildlife such as the desert tortoise to come out and forage on the abundant food supply on Aug. 12, 2022, in the Mojave National Preserve, Calif. Timelines for repair of flash flood damage to roads in California's vast desert wilderness parks are being extended even as monsoonal rains cause new problems along with unseasonal plant and animal activity. (Mike Gauthier via AP)

The National Weather Service's San Diego office said another surge of monsoonal moisture will increase the chance for mountain and desert thunderstorms through the weekend. Another surge is expected in the middle of next week.