Monday, June 27, 2022

Yellowstone National Park closes gates after record flooding and mudslides

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According to the park service, some roads were washed out and others were covered in mud or rocks due to “unprecedented” rainfall

Yellowstone National Park has been hit by a massive flood caused by “unprecedented” rainfall. “Due to record flood events in the park and more rainfall forecast, we have made the decision to close Yellowstone to all inbound visitors,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said Monday, June 13. The flooding was accompanied by rockfalls and mudslides on roads, resulting in the National Park Service closing all entrance gates to Yellowstone National Park. Some roads were washed out and others were covered with mud or rocks, according to the park service.

“06/13/22 at 11:12 AM UPDATE: All entrances to Yellowstone National Park temporarily CLOSED due to severe flooding, rock falls and extremely hazardous conditions; Stay informed about road conditions and weather conditions”, Yellowstone National Park Twitter account wrote in a post. Yellowstone National Park released several images of the damage caused by the floods, with one image showing a badly damaged road while floodwaters can be seen nearby. The post also noted that the flooding could cause rockfalls.

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A Twitter user posted a video of the flooding with the caption, “Crazy sight here in Gardiner Montana #yellowstone #flooding.”

In the 24 hours leading up to Monday noon, more than two inches of rain fell on several cities near Yellowstone, including Quadrant, Wyoming (2.68 inches); West Yellowstone, Montana (2.11 in); Soda Butte, Montana (2.82 in); and Gardiner, Montana (1.29 inches). “It is expected that rain will continue for the next few days. Measured flood levels on the Yellowstone River are beyond record levels,” Yellowstone said in a statement.

The floods also caused power outages in many regions, officials said. The massive national park covers 2,219,789 hectares, mostly in Wyoming but also in neighboring Montana and Idaho. Summer is the park’s busiest tourist season. The announcement that all park entrances will be closed came shortly after the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Yellowstone National Park and some surrounding areas. “Flooding from excessive rainfall will continue for Wyoming’s Gardiner River, Lower Yellowstone River and Lamar River,” the National Weather Service said.

Park director Sholly said in the statement that efforts are underway to “evacuate the northern portion” of Yellowstone due to “multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides and other issues.” “Due to forecasts of higher levels of flooding in areas of the park’s South Loop, in addition to concerns about water and sewage systems, we will begin moving visitors to the South Loop out of the park today in coordination with our park business partners,” Sholly said.

“We won’t know when the park will reopen until the flood waters subside and we are able to assess the damage across the park,” Sholly said. “It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a significant period of time,” she added.



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