Death Valley park could remain closed for months after Hurricane Hilary created new dangers

Death Valley National Park may be closed for months as it recovers from damage caused by Hurricane Hilary.

The park, which sits between California and Nevada, was hit by 2.2 inches of rain when the tropical storm lashed it on 20 August.

That amount of rain is around the amount the park, which is one of the planet’s hottest places, normally receives in a year and broke the record of 1.7 inches set last year.

The deluge caused major damage to roadways and forged new gullies through the park, which may not be open again until later this year.

“Two inches of rain does not sound like a lot, but here, it really does stay on the surface,” Matthew Lamar, a park ranger, told The Los Angeles Times. “Two inches of rain here can have a dramatic impact.”

Park officials say that 900 miles of the park’s 1,400 miles have been evaluated and repair costs for just one main road, State Route 190, and a small part of State Route 136, are already at $6m.

“We don’t have a timeline yet,” park spokesperson Abby Wines told The Associated Press on Monday. “Caltrans has said they expect to fully open 190 within three months, but they often are able to open parts of it earlier.”

Hilary was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it moved into California and was the first one to hit the southern part of the state in 84 years.

The park holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth, 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913.