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Thread: Death Valley Closed

  1. #1
    Drew Wiley
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    Death Valley Closed

    As many of you might have noticed on even national news, nearly all of highway-accessible Death Valley NP is closed due to severe flash flooding last week. Given the logistical complications in that kind of heat, many of the road washouts might take a long time to repair. And gosh knows how they are dealing with all the cars buried in mud, the trapped tourists there in summer of all things, and loss of infrastructure at Furnace Creek. It's not a place you want to isolated at if a power line disruption knocks out the air conditioning!

    Of course, all kinds of roads were damaged well beyond Death Valley itself, and no telling how many backroads washed out, both in CA and southern NV. The NPS posted the standard appropriate advice : DO NOT trust your navigation device with respect to possible alternate routes.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 15-Aug-2022 at 20:04.

  2. #2

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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    The NPS posted the standard appropriate advice : DO NOT trust your navigation device with respect to possible alternate routes.
    Good advice. I can't even rely on Google Maps to tell me a road in the city is closed for construction most of the time, and let's not bring up the times it tried to tell me to take forest service roads as a "shortcut" halfway across the Olympic Peninsula. Many of those remote roads only exist in theory.

    I hope everyone makes it out of the flooded area safely, between this and the Yellowstone flooding, it's been a difficult summer season for the NPS.

  3. #3

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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    As you mentioned, the problem is not just in Death Valley. It's in CA & NV, as well. But don't forget Arizona -- OMG!!! And Utah & Wyoming. There was also lots of flash flooding here in Colorado yesterday -- just not enough to make the National NEWS. Lots of roads closed from mud flows carrying tons of debris down from the burn scars from last year's forest fires.

    And there is a strong tropical depression that is flooding south west Texas right now that is about to add to the monsoon flow flooding the West.

    Death Valley "ain't seen nothin' yet".

  4. #4

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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    Not just flooding, the heat is going to arrive:
    https://firststreet.org/press/press-...-model-launch/

    Coupled with "mega flooding"
    https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abq0995


    Predictions were discussed in this 1989 issue of Scientific America..
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    Going back further to 1912..
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    We are only at the beginning of what begun a long time ago.

    Bernice

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    I wonder how far is the influence

    I listened today about a long ago North American melt that drained into the North Atlantic stopping 'normal' ocean circulation

    and changing weather all over the world

    I forget the dates, perhaps 50K years ago
    Tin Can

  6. #6

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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    More recently, it's happened several times before, when warming periods have melted enough ice "up north" that resulted in a cut-off of the Gulf Stream -- which is basically what keeps Europe from freezing.

    "The circulation could have been interrupted by the introduction of a large amount of fresh water into the North Atlantic and might have been caused by a period of warming before the Little Ice Age that is known as the Medieval Warm Period. There is some concern that a shutdown of thermohaline circulation could happen again as a result of the present warming period."

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    There were all kinds of major events related to the Ice Ages, when had its last dramatic tantrum roughly 12,000 yrs ago. And it took several thousand years for most of the giant lakes in what in now the desert West to dry up. Great Salt Lake is right on the verge of outright disappearing, with potentially horrendous implications for air quality. I studied some of the massive megafauna (horses, camels, mastodons, mammoths, etc) bone piles all jumbled up on Pleistocene floodplains when ice dams upriver would get breached and suddenly release huge wall of water. Ironically, one of the most interesting of these came to light when an earthfill irrigation dam was breached by a winter flood, and sluiced of a deep narrow gorge in the sediment.

    When Lake Bonneville, the giant predecessor of Great Salt Lake, was breached, it created streambed ripples so huge that they are now know as the Palouse hills in eastern Washington. The first geologist who figured that out was called nuts and lost his job for awhile. It was only when observers got way up above in a hot air balloon and observed the conspicuous pattern that his theory was confirmed. My dad would take me as a kid on trips to see the Dry Falls in eastern OR and WA, and other features of those vast catastrophes.

    But post-Pleistocene Calif. megafloods have not been sufficiently studied. It's thought that, at a few times in the past 6,000 yrs or so, much of the San Joaquin Valley became a vast lake. Giant swamps and marshes were routine before the Central Valley dam project flood control and irrigation canal system began, which my father was involved with. In fact, much of what is now farm land was once called the Serengeti of the West due to its lowland abundance of Elk, antelope, and grizzly bears.

    I've actually been in Death Valley three times during exceptional rainfall years when that little brine pool at Badwater turned into a lake over thirty miles long. But in each case it was very shallow and dried up rapidly. But back in the ice ages, Lake Manley was hundreds of feet deep, and sometimes even deeper.

  8. #8
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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    I wonder how far is the influence

    I listened today about a long ago North American melt that drained into the North Atlantic stopping 'normal' ocean circulation

    and changing weather all over the world

    I forget the dates, perhaps 50K years ago
    Northwest passage is open for shipping soon !
    where's captain cooke when you needed him ?

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    As the Polar Ice cap keeps diminishing, the Jet Stream is going to get more and more schizophrenic. It's going to be a wild ride. My own little slice of research involved the question of why the last gasp of the Pleistocene was so much more sudden and dramatic than earlier cycles. When no better explanation can be found, there's a temptation to leap to extraterrestrial answers, in this case, some speculate that a comet might have hit the polar region and triggered it. I dunno - just know what it caused, not what caused it. My own default explanation is that when the Northern Hemisphere's "thermostat" failed, all hell broke loose with the climate. I think we're headed at high speed for that kind of scenario again. The more "Bridge Out Ahead" signs on the road encountered, the harder nations seem to step on the pedal and accelerate toward inevitable disaster. Fasten your seat belts.

    A lot of sadness to it too. I've gotta go out back this afternoon and process a big Fuji Supergloss print I enlarged yesterday of a stunning glacial melt pond I visited a few times in earlier decades. Not even a trace of a glacier there now. Out of the sixty or so glaciers in the High Sierra around that time, I'd be surprised if even a dozen are left today, and they're getting smaller and smaller.

  10. #10

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    Re: Death Valley Closed

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    The more "Bridge Out Ahead" signs on the road encountered, the harder nations seem to step on the pedal and accelerate toward inevitable disaster. Fasten your seat belts.
    I couldn't have said it better myself. As it warms up, people will demand more A/C units.

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