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Death Valley comes to life: ‘Once in a lifetime’ storms create temporary LAKE at California hot spot with one now deep enough to kayak in


  • The Badwater Basin, which lies at the bottom of Death Valley received 4.9 inches of rainfall in the past six months – causing Lake Manly to be created
  • The new lake is about six miles long, three miles wide and one foot deep 
  • Park officials have advised visitors to stay safe and asked p eople to walk on established pathways

Californians can now kayak in the driest place in the US after a rare and temporary lake has been formed due to heavy rains. 

The Badwater Basin, that lies at the bottom of Death Valley, received 4.9 inches of rainfall in the past six months – causing a lake to be created in the bed. 

The newly-formed lake is informally known as Lake Manly and is about six miles long, three miles wide and one foot deep.

According to the Death Valley National Park, the 2.2 inches of rainfall from Hurricane Hilary in 2023 and the 1.5 inches of downpour during an atmospheric river from February 4 to 7 caused the basin to fill up. 

On an average, the Death Valley receives about two inches of downpour every year.  

The Badwater Basin, which lies at the bottom of Death Valley received 4.9 inches of rainfall in the past six months - which is over double the amount of average precipitation the Valley receives annually

The Badwater Basin, which lies at the bottom of Death Valley received 4.9 inches of rainfall in the past six months – which is over double the amount of average precipitation the Valley receives annually

The lake is only deep enough to kayak for a couple weeks but park rangers believe the shallow lake will still create beautiful reflections through April

The lake is only deep enough to kayak for a couple weeks but park rangers believe the shallow lake will still create beautiful reflections through April

The newly formed lake is informally known as Lake Manly and is about six miles long, three miles wide and one foot deep

The newly formed lake is informally known as Lake Manly and is about six miles long, three miles wide and one foot deep

The lake is only deep enough to kayak for a couple weeks, but park rangers believe the shallow body of water will still create beautiful reflections through April.

Videos show visitors being able to walk through the lake for a few inches and being able to touch the basin.  

Park ranger Abby Wines said: ‘You might think with no drain to the sea, that Death Valley would always have a lake. 

‘But this is an extremely rare event. Normally the amount of water flowing in is much less than the evaporation rate.

‘The lake was deep enough to kayak for a few weeks after Hurricane Hilary, but unfortunately people couldn’t come enjoy it then. 

‘Every road in the park was damaged by flash floods, and it took two months to open the first road into the park. Now most of the main roads are open, so it’s a great time to come visit!’

Lake Manly received its name from an ancient lake of the same name that evaporated tens of thousands of years ago

Lake Manly received its name from an ancient lake of the same name that evaporated tens of thousands of years ago

Videos show visitors being able to walk through the lake for a few inches and being able to touch the basin

Videos show visitors being able to walk through the lake for a few inches and being able to touch the basin

Images released by NASA, which are false color to 'emphasize the presence of water in shades of blue', show the transformation of the area between July 5, 2023 and February 14, 2024

Images released by NASA, which are false color to ’emphasize the presence of water in shades of blue’, show the transformation of the area between July 5, 2023 and February 14, 2024

The dry salt flat basin is at 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest elevation in North America

The dry salt flat basin is at 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest elevation in North America

Images released by NASA, which are false color to ’emphasize the presence of water in shades of blue’, show the transformation of the area between July 5, 2023 and February 14, 2024. 

The dry salt flat basin is at 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest elevation in North America. 

Park officials have advised visitors to stay safe and asked people to walk on established pathways.

According to SFGate, Lake Manly received its name from an ancient lake of the same name that evaporated tens of thousands of years ago. 

Prior to 2023, the lake was last seen in 2005.



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