(WKBN) – When one thinks about Death Valley, California, one often thinks about how it was one of the hottest places on Earth. The first thought that comes to mind for most is that it is the location of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth: a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded at the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley in 1913.
In fact, the last thing that people probably think about when it comes to Death Valley is rain. However, with monsoon season cranking in the desert southwest, Death Valley experienced a historic rainfall event on Friday.
Thunderstorms rolled into Death Valley Friday, bringing torrential rainfall and flash flooding to the national park. The rain gauge at Furnace Creek Ranch (where the hottest temperature ever on Earth occurred) recorded 1.46″ of rainfall during Friday’s flooding event. This is the second wettest day on record since the station began taking measurements in 1911.
This event nearly eclipsed the wettest day of 1.47″ of rainfall, which was set on April 15, 1988. The flooding closed the National Park and stranded nearly 1,000 people who were visiting the park.
Death Valley National Park averages 2.20″ of rainfall per year, so this event produced over 66% of the average rainfall totals in under six hours. This is the first day of the year that the National Park has received rainfall. There are two years in recorded history where Death Valley National Park received no rainfall at all: 1929 and 1953.
The rainfall also caused below-average temperatures in the National Park on Friday. A high of 93 degrees might sound hot, but the average high temperature in August is 115 degrees so the high temperature was almost 25 degrees below normal.
There will be more chances of showers and thunderstorms next week, which could cause additional flooding.