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Storm knocks out power, damages roads in Death Valley

DEATH VALLEY N.P. — A strong summer storm disrupted activities at Death Valley National Park last week, as damaged roads and power outages brought the popular tourist destination to a temporary halt.

The July 1 storm damaged a power line between Death Valley Junction at Furnace Creek caused a 38-hour power outage, which affected several sites, including the Death Valley Visitor Center, Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Hotel, which was shut down for the better part of two days before being reopened Sunday and Monday.

Travelers were encouraged not make their way to the park during that time, as the power outage, coupled with high temperatures and debris-covered roads created an unpleasant situation.

The storm also caused flash flooding in the north end of the park, shutting down North Highway, also known as Scotty’s Castle Road and Titus Canyon.

The Beatty Cutoff Road also closed down for a period of time, diverting traffic to and from Beatty onto 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, making temperatures inside homes climb into the 90s.

Several 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 associated with the storm 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, with damage assessments continuing for the area.

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

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @mickakers

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