Yellowstone National Park Shut Down Due To Historic Flash Floods

A record-breaking amount of flooding has forced the officials of Yellowstone National park to evacuate all civilians and personnel and close down the park on Monday in the wake of the rushing tide of water leaving the main roads either under water or damaged and the various bridges either washed away or impassable.

As stated in a recent report sent out by the Jackson Hole News and Guide, the storms from this past Sunday night sported unprecedented heavy rains that entirely overwhelmed the streams and rivers that flow throughout the park, causing the already swollen Yellowstone River to damage the main roads leading into the park. Carbella Bridge out in Red Lodge, Montana, was entirely washed away. Additionally, the rushing river also destroyed quite a few buildings in Gardiner, MT, which is located along the northern border of the park area.

“Due to record flooding events in the park and more precipitation in the forecast, we have made the decision to close Yellowstone to all inbound visitation,” stated Cam Sholly, the park’s Superintendent, in a release. Highlighting “multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides, and other issues.” Sholly has since announced plans to evacuate due to concerns that the flooding would also impact the roads in the southern area of the park.

“We will not know the timing of the park’s reopening until flood waters subside and we’re able to assess the damage throughout the park. It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a substantial amount of time,” stated Sholly.

Jim Halfpenny, a resident of Gardiner, stated that this flooding was far more devastating than anything he had seen in his lifetime and as reported by a stream gauge found in Corwin Springs, MT, Halfpenny was entirely right. The gauge was showing a flow rate of 49,2000 cubic feet per second in the afternoon on Monday, and the record that was previously set happened on the 13th of June back in 1918 when it was calculated to be 30,000 cubic feet per second.

One guide working with Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures, Jess Olson, stated that this flooding was “the worst thing that’s happened disaster-wise since the fires of ’88” — when wildfires raged across the park and burned almost one-third of it. “To have all five entrances closed because of one event during the summer season? It’s crazy.”

Officials for the park issued an update about the situation in the evening on Tuesday, stating in a tweet, “Northern portion of Yellowstone likely to remain closed for substantial length of time due to severely damaged, impacted infrastructure. Visitors traveling to park soon must stay informed about current situation, roads & weather.”

A more detailed update was posted by the National Park Service on the Official Yellowstone National Park website, stating: “The road from Gardiner, MT, to Cooke City, MT., will likely not reopen for the rest of the 2022 season due to the recent road damage. This will adversly effect the Northern Loop rd and surrounding communities at the North and Northeast Entrance including Gardiner, Mammoth and Cooke City. Hard closures will take place at Canyon and at Norris going north for the season. Assesment on when to reopen the Southern Loop rd including Canyon Village is underway based on the current flood damage but should reopen relatively soon. When the South Loop does reopen, it will include the West Entrance, the South Entrance and the East Entrance. Assesement should take approximately a week or less.”

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