National Park Service via AP
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — 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 has warned visitors to steer clear. expect delays and continued road closures.
Locations that will reopen include 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.
Death Valley was hit on August 5 by historic monsoon thunderstorms that caused millions of dollars in damage to roads and facilities.
State Route 190 through the park reopened around 5 p.m. Friday, two weeks after it closed due to flash flooding that damaged miles of shoulder, the California Department of Transportation said.
Crews will continue to fill in sections that have been washed away, and drivers may experience slowdowns and lane closures in the fall to allow for repairs, Caltrans said.
Visitors have been warned to plan ahead and not to rely on GPS devices as all other paved roads will remain closed for repairs and backcountry roads are still being assessed.
This summer’s very active monsoon also damaged roads elsewhere in California’s deserts, including Mojave National Preserve and the south side of Joshua Tree National Park.
Joshua Tree park officials have urged visitors to drive carefully and watch for desert tortoises as the water encourages them to emerge and they can be mistaken for rocks on the roads.
The National Weather Service’s San Diego office said another surge of monsoon humidity will increase the chance of mountain and desert thunderstorms through the weekend. A new surge is expected in the middle of next week.