Yellowstone National Park flood: ‘unprecedented’ flood conditions force park to close all entrances and leave locals trapped

On Monday afternoon, the park announced that all park entrances would be closed to visitors, citing “record flooding events” and a forecast of more rain to come.

“Our first priority was to clear the northern part of the park where we have many broken roads, bridges, mudslides and other issues,” Yellowstone Police Superintendent Cam Scholey said in a statement on Monday.

Several cities in Montana’s Park County, just north of Yellowstone, are also experiencing widespread flooding, which has washed away bridges and roads, making travel unsafe or impossible to evacuate, Park County officials said on Facebook Monday. Officials have also issued warnings in many areas to residents to avoid drinking local water due to broken water mains and submerged wells.

“The river has never been this high before before my house,” said Elizabeth Allock, who lives in Gardiner in Park County. Aluck told CNN on Monday afternoon that she could not evacuate because the roads and bridges around her home had been washed away.

An Indiana family staying in a short-term rental cabin in Gardiner told CNN they were supposed to leave Monday morning, but floods left them stranded.

“Water levels were high on Saturday but in the last 10-12 hours things have gotten a lot tougher,” Parker Manning said. “Our way out of town will be north at 89, but these roads are currently all underwater.”

The Yellowstone River, which runs through the park and many Park County towns, swelled to a record Monday due to recent torrential rains and high-elevation melting snow runoff, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

The Yellowstone River gauge in Corwin Springs, Montana, reached 13.88 feet on Monday afternoon, surpassing the historic 11.5-foot peak from 1918, according to NOAA River Scale data. “The river is still rising near Livingston, and is expected to reach its peak between 6 and 9 p.m. on Monday,” Park County officials said on Facebook.
Across the country in recent days, extreme weather events have hit communities, including thunderstorms that have left nearly 300,000 customers without power in the Midwest, a tornado threat in Chicago, and a sweltering heat dome that has left more than a third of the US population under control. Heat alerts.

Some have been evacuated while others are still trapped

As many roads and bridges are rendered impassable by floodwaters, park and county officials are working to evacuate all who can and provide support for those who cannot leave.

The Park County Police Department issued a shelter-in-place until 7 a.m. Monday to those located 52.5 miles south of U.S. Highway 89 south, according to a Facebook post.

The province said the National Guard and local search and rescue teams are assisting with evacuations and rescue operations across the county, including two air lifts and a rapid water rescue.

Flooding causes part of a home in Gardiner, Montana, to collapse into the water.
An update on the county’s Facebook page said multiple communities in Park County are isolated and surrounded by water, including Gardiner, Cooke City and Silver Gate. The rushing flood waters also caused damage to homes, with pictures showing homes that have partially or completely collapsed.

In neighboring Carbon County, Montana, flooding of utility service lines has compromised, leaving many customers in Red Lodge without power, officials said.

Meanwhile, many roads and bridges in Yellowstone have been endangered by flooding, park officials say. The videos released by the park show parts of the paved roads that have been swept away or severely eroded.

Flowing water washed a bridge at Rescue Creek in Yellowstone National Park.

Due to expectations of rising flood levels and concerns about water and sewage systems, the park also began relocating visitors from the park’s southern ring on Monday, Shuli said.

“We won’t know when the park will reopen until the floodwaters have calmed down and we can assess the damage throughout the park,” Shuli said. “It is likely that the northern ring will be closed for an extended period of time.”

The massive increase in precipitation strengthens the flood waters

In June, precipitation across northwest Wyoming and southern Montana was more than 400% of the area average, according to Miller.

The NWS in Riverton, Wyoming, said the massive increase in precipitation combined with near-record temperatures in the area caused ice melt in areas of higher elevation. During Sunday night, the thaw made its way into streams and rivers, adding to the floodwaters, the NWS said.

In addition to the record set in Corwin Springs, the Yellowstone River reached 10.9 feet in Livingston, Montana, surpassing Monday the 1997 record of 10.7 feet, NWS reported in Billings, Montana.

CNN’s Sarah Smart, Claudia Dominguez, Raja Razek, Brandon Miller and Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment