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Route through western Death Valley reopens, many roads still closed

State Route 190, the main road through Death Valley National Park, has reopened on the western side of the park following extreme flooding last week.

The highway is still closed from Trona/Wildrose Junction in Panamint Valley through Death Valley Junction. The road can currently take park visitors to Panamint Springs Resort, Father Crowley Overlook and Lee Flat, according to the National Park Service.

Satellite photos released by NASA Wednesday show the extent of the flooding from Friday’s storm in Furnace Creek compared with one month ago. The storm brought 1.46 inches of water to the park that on average receives 1.9 inches of rain in an entire year.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Dantes View, Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin and the Mesquite Sand Dunes remain closed due to flood damage.

The park service warned visitors to avoid wet playas since foot and vehicle traffic can damage the environment and increase the amount of time it will take to repair certain areas after flooding.

Park rangers are also advising visitors to avoid dirt roads in the park. Some visitors using navigation apps have been routed to dirt roads to access the park and ended stranded as a result. All dirt roads that have been inspected in Death Valley have been damaged by recent flooding, and some are impassible. Not all roads in the park have been assessed due to the intensity of flooding.

“We urge visitors to stay off dirt roads, even if apps are directing them there,” park superintendent Mike Reynolds said in a news release. “While we are working with various map platforms to report these issues, please be smarter than your smart phones.”

The California Department of Transportation expects most of State Route 190 through Death Valley to stay closed through Aug. 17. About 20 miles of road in the park has been cleared as of Tuesday.

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