It is Over Two Months After Tropical Storm Hilary, Death Valley is Still Feeling the Effects from the Storm
A lake in the Desert Southwest?! Two months after Tropical Storm Hilary, the Badwater Basin in Death Valley is filled with bright blue water according to Copernicus EU.
Tropical Storm Hilary made history in California late this summer. The storm brought California its first ever tropical storm warning and dumped half-a-years worth of rain, triggering flash flood events across the region. The unprecedented rain shocked the dry region who is still feeling the effects over two months later.
About the storm
Tropical Storm Hilary started out as a category 4 hurricane in the Pacific, off the coast of Baja California on August 19th. She then tracked up the coast aiming for southern California and the Desert Southwest during the week of the 21st.
California and the surrounding states received almost half of their average yearly rainfall in the few days of this event. This is unheard of in the desert regions of the western United States. Death Valley is included in the previously extremely dry regions that received extreme rainfall from the storm.
Death Valley- the dry and hot land
The below-sea-level basin of Death Valley gets its name from pioneer times when a group of travelers got lost crossing the extremely hot and dry landscape. Despite only one of the travelers perishing, the group all thought they would die therefore giving the land its name.
In July, a persistent heat dome developed over the Southwest United States. This pattern baked the desert causing temperatures to reach 128°F, a mere 6 degrees from the unofficial record of 134°F.
Rain from Tropical Storm Hilary broke rainfall records across the Desert Southwest. The National Weather Service reported 2.20 inches of rain in a single day during the storm. This blew the previous rain record of 1.70 inches out of the water.
Badwater Basin is still filled
The hard, dry ground in the Desert Southwest is unable to support and absorb this much water. The surplus of water flowed down hill to the lowest point in North America: Badwater Basin. The salty lake bed is now filled with water to a level we have not seen since 2005.
Copernicus EU, an earth observance program based in Europe posted Wednesday a comparison of the basin before Hilary and now. The images show a completely dry landscape before Hilary hit the West Coast. However, today bright blue water fills the basin.
This powerful comparison shows how long hurricane influences last. It is over two months after Hilary and her rain is still changing landscapes in the country.