Some roads in Death Valley National Park experience major damage due to the amount of rain the fell on Aug. 5, which the National Weather Service now recognizes as the rainiest day the park as ever experienced. Photo by Abby Wines/NPS/<a href="https://www.nps.gov/deva/learn/news/aug-5-rainiest-day.htm">Release</a>
Some roads in Death Valley National Park experience major damage due to the amount of rain the fell on Aug. 5, which the National Weather Service now recognizes as the rainiest day the park as ever experienced. Photo by Abby Wines/NPS/Release

Sept. 2 (UPI) — As forecasts predict that a late-summer heat wave could soar temperatures to 125 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley over the weekend, officials said that the national park experienced its rainiest day in recorded history early last month.

According to a statement Thursday from the National Park Services, the National Weather Service now recognizes Aug. 5 as “Death Valley National Park’s rainiest day.”

A deluge of “unprecedented” rain on Death Valley that early August Friday saw some 60 vehicles buried under feet of debris and some 1,000 people in the park stranded as all roads in and out were closed.

The park initially reported that it had received 1.46 inches of rain, just shy of the previous daily record of 1.47 inches, but the park said Thursday that it now recognizes that 1.7 inches fell, shattering the previous record.

“The park received three-quarters of its annual average rainfall in a few hours,” it said.

The discrepancy has to do with the fact that two rain gauges at the Furnace Creek weather station provided different rainfall measurements with the original 1.46 inches of rain reported by the National Weather Service having been recorded by an automated gauge.

The agency now recognizes 1.70 inches, recorded manually the National Park Service rangers, as the accurate number, it said, with the average annual rainfall for Death Valley being 2.2 inches.

Nearly a month removed from the Aug. 5 flood, many roads remain closed, the park said, warning drivers against assuming directions on smartphone apps are correct for traveling through the park.

“Travelers should not drive past ‘road closed’ signs,” it said. “This is especially dangerous during heat waves, such as the 120- to 124-degree temperatures forecasted for Labor Day weekend.

“There is no cellphone coverage in most of the park to call for help in case of vehicle problems.”

The announcement comes as temperatures are expected to climb in the Southwest over Labor Day weekend, with forecasts showing that Death Valley could hit 125 degrees.

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