The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in California is scheduled to reopen on Monday after the facility was shut down by a heavy storm, leaving over 200 people stranded. Officials have said that they will be carrying out extra cleanup efforts, pushing the reopening date to Monday contrary to the expectations of the public.
“After completing a thorough inspection earlier today, we realized that it would take additional days for the mud and debris to be fully removed from our equipment and dock area,” said Nancy Nichols, the tramway’s general manager. “We sincerely regret the inconvenience this is causing our visitors and appreciate their understanding.”
The tramway opened in 1963 and is considered to be one of the biggest rotating aerial trams. It begins its scenic trek in the Sonoran Desert and ends in the alpine forest.
Before the storm blocked the tramway, weather officials in San Diego had warned that there were chances of numerous torrential storms. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service announced that 1.99 inches of precipitation fell at San Jacinto Peak, causing mudflows that blocked the trek. The occurrence temporarily stranded over 200 people on the tramway, the weather service said.
This is not the first time that bad weather has caused the closure of the tramway. In 2019, a heavy storm poured debris on the trek, causing temporary closure. Similar to the 2019 case, this week’s closure came after a series of heavy storms.
The Death Valley National Park was also closed following 1.46 inches of a torrential downpour on Friday. The rain then stranded 1,000 people in floodwaters and debris. In addition, the waters ripped up trees and rolled parked cars.
Weather experts say that although the monsoonal storms being experienced at the moment are not unexpected around this time of year, they could be made more intense due to climate change.
“We’re already in a climate where the odds of intense precipitation are elevated,” climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor at Stanford University, told reporters. “And we have a clear understanding that as global warming continues, the heavy precipitation events are likely to continue to intensify overall.”
Via LA Times
Lead image via Pexels