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

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The park announced Monday afternoon that all park entrances were closed to visitors, citing “record flood events” and forecasts of more rain to come.

“Our first priority is to evacuate the northern section of the park where we have multiple road and bridge failures, mud slides and other problems,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholay said in a statement Monday.

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

“The river near my house has never been so high,” said Elizabeth Alke, who lives in Gardiner, Park County. Alak 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 living in a short-term rented cabin in Gardiner told CNN they were due to leave on Monday morning, but were stranded due to flooding.

“The water level was high on Saturday but things have gotten worse in the last 10-12 hours,” Parker Manning said. “Our exit from the city will be north at 89, but those roads are currently all underwater.”

According to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller, the Yellowstone River, which flows through the park and several Park County towns, reached record highs Monday due to recent heavy rains and significant flows of melted snow at high altitudes.

The Yellowstone River gauge at Corvin Springs, Montana reached 13.88 feet on Monday afternoon, surpassing the historic height of 11.5 feet since 1918. NOAA River Gauge Data Shows. “The river is still rising near Livingston, and it is expected to rise between 6 and 9 pm on Monday,” Park County officials said on Facebook.
Across the nation in recent days, severe weather events have hurt communities, including hurricanes that left nearly 300,000 customers without electricity in the Midwest, the threat of a tornado in Chicago and Intense heat dome That leaves more than a third of the U.S. population under heat alert.
A large boulder on North Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park on Monday.

Some have been evacuated while others are trapped

As many roads and bridges have become inaccessible due to flood waters, park and county officials are working to evacuate as many as possible and provide support to those who cannot leave.

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The Park County Sheriff’s Department issued shelters for those located 52.5 miles south of U.S. Highway 89 South by 7 a.m. Monday, according to a Facebook post.

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The National Guard and local search and rescue teams were assisting with evacuation and rescue work throughout the county, including two air lifts and a Swift water rescue, the county said.

Part of a house in Gardiner, Montana, is flooded.
Multiple communities in Park County are isolated and surrounded by water, including Gardiner, Cook City and Silver Gate, an update On the County Facebook page Said. Rapid floodwaters have also damaged homes, as images show houses partially or completely collapsing.

Flood-damaged utility service lines in neighboring Carbon County, Montana, leave many customers without power at Red Lodge, officials said.

Meanwhile, many roads and bridges in Yellowstone have also been damaged by flooding, park officials say. In the video released by the park, some parts of the paved road have been washed away or seriously washed away.

The bridge over Rescue Creek in Yellowstone National Park was washed away by running water.

Due to high flood forecasts and concerns about water and sewage management, the park also began to move visitors out of the park’s southern loop, Sholay said.

“Until the floodwaters recede, we will not know when the park will reopen and we will be able to assess the damage to the entire park,” Sholay said. “The northern loop is likely to be closed for some time.”

Dramatic increase in rainfall strengthens flood waters

In June, rainfall in northwestern Wyoming and southern Montana was more than 400% of the region’s average, according to Miller.

The dramatic increase in rainfall is linked to near-record temperatures in the region that have melted snow in high altitude areas, the NWS in Riverton, Wyoming said. Overnight, snow melted into streams and rivers, adding to the floodwaters, NWS said.

In addition to the record at Corvin Springs, the Yellowstone River in Livingston, Montana, reached 10.9 feet on Monday, surpassing the 1997 record of 10.7 feet, Billings, NWS in Montana, said.

CNN’s Sara Smart, Claudia Dominguez, King Rezek, Brandon Miller and Amanda Jacques contributed to the report.

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