More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from the Yellowstone National Park in the United States after heavy rains and melting snow caused floods and mudslides knocking out bridges and roads. This is the first time in 34 years that the park has shut down all five entrances for visitors, except for a brief period due to the pandemic.
The northern part of the park witnessed the worst damage along with Yellowstone’s gateway communities in southern Montana. The floods were caused after the region experienced the wettest springs in many years that coincided with a sudden spike in summer temperatures, resulting in snow melting in the park's higher elevations. Over the weekend, the storm started in Yellowstone bringing two to three inches of rain which when combined with the melting snow created a major flood with a fast water flow. According to Jason Straub, a meteorologist with the Weather Service, measurements taken at Yellowstone Lake reveal that the region witnessed 1.37 inches of rain on Sunday, The New York Times reported. (Image: Reuters)
The churning floodwaters of the Gardner and Lamar rivers cut off road access to the town Gardiner in Montana, which houses about 900 people. Cooke City was also cut off by floodwaters, while evacuation orders were issued for residents in Livingston. Flooding had made drinking water unsafe. in many areas in Park County, officials said on Facebook (Image: AP)
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has declared the floods a state-wide disaster and stepped up rescue and relief efforts in three counties. Two helicopters were sent by the Montana National Guard to the southern part of the state to help with the rescue and evacuation. (Image: AP)
The Yellowstone National Park will remain closed for about a week and the northern section may stay closed for the rest of the season. Entrances to the northern half of the park will open by late October or early November, Cam Sholly, superintendent of the park, said in a press conference. (Image: AP)
No other injuries were reported, except one person who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at a campground, officials said. 12 campers remained in the park’s backcountry, Sholly said, adding that they were all safe. (Image: AP)
This year, Yellowstone National Park is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the US, sprawling across over two million acres of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Last year, over 4.8 million people visited Yellowstone, The New York Times reported. (Image: Shutterstock)
The last time Yellowstone National Park closed was in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, the park was shut down for two months. However, it saw record levels of tourism in 2021 and this year the numbers were on pace to surpass that, Bill Berg, commissioner of Gardiner and Cooke City’s County, two Montana towns that house the northern entrances to the park, told The New York Times. (Image: Shutterstock)