Yellowstone Closed as Roads, Bridges Destroyed by Flooding
Officials are evacuating parts of the national park as flooding has destroyed many access roads to the area.
All entrances to Yellowstone National Park closed on Monday afternoon, as heavy flooding lead to rockslides and road failures in the surrounding area. The closure is set to last until Wednesday at the minimum, according to the latest reports from Yellowstone officials.
Heavy precipitation led to flooding that washed away several roads and bridges in the areas around Yellowstone. Over two inches of rain fell on cities around Yellowstone leading in the 24 hours leading up to midday on Monday, with Soda Butte, Montana recording 2.82 inches and nearby Quadrant, Wyoming close behind at 2.68 inches of rainfall.
The resulting floods have caused major damage to transport links in the area. In a video shared by the Casper Star Tribune, an entire truss bridge can be seen floating away from a river crossing.
Meanwhile, several sections of the North Entrance Road have been entirely washed away by mudslides and flooding. Aerial footage captured by Yellowstone's helicopter manager shows the roadway has entirely collapsed in several areas as a torrent of flood waters rages down the Gardner River. The section of road between Gardiner, Montana and the Mammoth Hot Springs looks to be virtually impassable by car.
Park superintendent Cam Sholly stated that evacuation efforts are underway for the northern section of Yellowstone due to "multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides, and other issues." With wet weather set to continue, rangers decided to close the park, with Yellowstone officials stating: "With additional rainfall forecasted, the park does not want large numbers of day-use visitors stranded."
Much of Gardiner, Montana has been isolated by the weather event, with Silver Gate and Cooke City residents also feeling the brunt of the impact of the floods. Sholly added that park and state officials are working "to provide necessary support to residents, who are currently without water and power in some areas."
Rains in the area are expected to continue for some time before easing on Wednesday. Flood watches are presently active for parts of Montana, Washington, and Idaho. Access to Yellowstone is likely to be difficult for the days and weeks to come due to the extensive damage to roadways and bridges throughout the area.