Due to “extremely hazardous conditions” induced by “unprecedented” rainfall and flooding, Yellowstone National Park announced Monday that all openings are temporarily closed.
In a post on Facebook, the park said, “Effective immediately, all gates to Yellowstone National Park are temporarily CLOSED due to major floods, landslides, and mudflows on roadways from recently extraordinary quantities of rainfall and flooding.”
“Until the conditions calm and the park can causing considerable to roads and bridges,” the post stated, no inbound travel will be allowed. The exits to the north, northeast, west, south, and east have all been closed.
More About Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is a 3,500-square-mile natural recreation area perched atop a volcanic hotbed. The park is often in Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho.
Dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, dense forests, hot springs, and erupting geysers, including Yellowstone’s most renowned, Old Faithful, can all be found in Yellowstone. Dozens of species of animals, notably bears, wolves, bison, elk, and antelope, call it habitat.
On Monday afternoon, the park issued a status update on its website, stating that no inbound visitor traffic would be permitted on Tuesday or Wednesday “at least.”
Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement that “our first focus has been to evacuating the northern area of the park where we have several road and bridge collapses, mudslides, and other difficulties.”
Due to expected rising flood levels and issues with water and sewage infrastructure, visitors will be moved from the park’s southern loop beginning later Monday, according to the statement. The park’s recovery will be determined once storm waters recede and damage is inspected. The northern loop is likely to be shut “for a significant amount of time.”
Residents of Gardiner, Montana, a community just north of the park that is temporarily secluded due to perilous circumstances, are being helped by park officials in collaboration with the county and state, according to the message.
Multiple areas of the park are also without electricity, according to the park’s announcements.” With more rain expected, the park does not want huge numbers of day-use guests stranded in the park,” the park announced on Facebook and on its website.
According to data from the National Park Service, over 780,000 individuals visited the park in June on average between 2014 and 2018.”The river has never been this high by my house before,” Elizabeth Aluck, a resident of Gardiner, which acts as a visitor’s entrance, said.
Aluck said she had been unable to flee as of Monday afternoon due to washed-out roads and bridges in the region. Visitors planning to visit Yellowstone National Park in the next weeks should keep an eye on road conditions, according to the park.
Due to floods in the vicinity, a family sleeping at a short-term rental house in Gardiner near the park entrance is unable to leave their rental cabin.
Melissa and Parker Manning of Indiana told CNN that they and their family arrived at their rental on Saturday and planned to leave Monday morning.
Parker Manning remarked, “That’s not going to happen any time soon.” “The water levels were high on Saturday, but things have gotten harsher in the last 10-12 hours.”
On Monday afternoon, the pair joined a conference call with emergency management personnel. Local companies should contemplate food restrictions, according to officials on the call. Manning confirmed that they did go to the grocery shop and that everyone was planning ahead and not panicked.
Manning hopes to leave the town within the next 48 hours, but the couple has no idea when they will be able to go. Manning noted that the host of their rental was quite understanding of the circumstance.
Before posting the extended closure, the park noted in a news release that roads in the northern area of the park will be temporarily blocked for “an extended period of time.”
“Preliminary assessments show many portions of roadway in the park have been washed away in Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana, and multiple bridges may be impacted,” according to the announcement, which also stated that visitors in the park’s northern region are being evacuated.
On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the area, urging campers and hikers to stay away from streams and creeks.
When facing flooded roadways, the NWS advised drivers to “turn around, don’t drown.”
Flooding is forecast in Mammoth, Osprey Falls, Indian Creek Campground, and Lava Creek Campgrounds, all of which are located within the park, according to the meteorological service. In the Montana towns of Corwin Springs and Livingston, the Yellowstone River hit record-high levels on Monday.
As per river gauge data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the river surged more than 5 feet near Corwin Springs on Monday morning. On Monday afternoon, the gauge recorded 13.85 feet, exceeding the previous high crest of 11.5 feet set in 1918.
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Livingston’s river gauge read a new high of 10.9 feet. As per CNN meteorologists, June rainfall in northwestern Wyoming and southern Montana was more than 400 percent above normal.