News July 6, 2016

Heat Evacuation For Death Valley

by Jackson Hole. Media

Power has been restored to National Park Service facilities and hotels in Death Valley National Park, although services are limited and some roads remain closed.

A thunderstorm during the evening of Friday, July 1 damaged a section of powerline near the park’s eastern border. Southern California Edison was able to fully restore electricity after a 38 hour outage early this morning.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center is open. Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Hotel and related services are closed for today and tonight but will reopen tomorrow. The gas station at Furnace Creek is open for business. Stovepipe Wells Village is open with limited availability, including the hotel, store, and gas station;call 760-786-2387 to check for room availability. The saloon at Stovepipe Wells will serve a limited dinner menu starting at 5:30 pm. Panamint Springs Resort is open;call 775-482-7680 to make a reservation.

In addition to the electrical outage, the storm caused flash flooding in the north end of the park. North Highway, also known as Scotty’s Castle Road, is closed, as is Titus Canyon. The Beatty Cutoff Road is closed today—traffic to and from Beatty can enter the park on Nevada Route 374 (Daylight Pass Road). Jubilee Pass—the southern section of Badwater Road connecting the park to the town of Shoshone—remains closed from damage in last October’s storms.

The electrical outage created dangerous conditions for residents of Death Valley, as highs yesterday reached 115 degrees F. As temperatures inside homes climbed into the 90s, many park residents evacuated to Beatty, Pahrump, and Lathrop Wells Nevada. The Nye County Emergency Management Team and American Red Cross assisted with evacuations of residents and hotel guests.

High winds flipped a small plane parked on the remote landing strip in Saline Valley, stranding passengers overnight. Winds also damaged several roofs in the ranger housing area, and damage assessments are continuing.

Scotty’s Castle has been closed and is undergoing extensive repairs since a devastating flash flood in October 2015. Although rangers found no major damage after this recent storm, maintenance staff will fully assess the buildings for new damage later this week.

Visitation in summer remains high, as travelers hope to experience the park’s temperature extremes. Death Valley holds the world record for the hottest temperature ever recorded, 134 degrees F, set on July 10, 1913. As we approach the anniversary date, rangers recommend that visitors tour by car rather than hiking and carry plenty of water. Visit www.nps.gov/deva for more tips on summer visits.

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