Yellowstone flooding – live: 10,000 evacuated as rescuers plan to reach backpackers still in deluged park

·10-min read

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from Yellowstone National Park, as dangerous flood waters have knocked out bridges and roads, as well as causing mud slides.

Heavy rains and snow melt caused the Yellowstone River to jump its banks, prompting widespread destruction and toppling riverside properties.

All five entrances to the park, which gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, have been closed to visitors for the first time in 34 years.

All visitors aside from a single group of backpackers have left the park, according to officials. Emergency crews are prepared to potentially rescue the group.

The north entrance of the park is expected to be closed all summer as officials seek to repair damaged infrastructure.

What caused the massive flooding and mudslides in Yellowstone?

06:56 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The Yellowstone River in Corwin Springs, Montana surpassed its previous record high water level by at least two feet, according to the US Geological Survey.

The flooding was due to a combination of intense rainfall and heavy snowmelt.

By Tuesday at 9am, some parts of the park had recorded more than 1.6 inches of rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Straub told WyoFile, adding that daily rainfall more than one inch is very uncommon.

And Reuters reported that the area also saw warmer temperatures over the past few days, which accelerated snowmelt from the park’s high peaks. Per US government data, the area currently has a lot of water piled up in the snowpack. Images from the park this week showed road and building damage as water poured into valleys and pushed rivers far above normal levels.

The climate crisis is expected to increase the frequency and severity of events like rainstorms in many parts of the country. Over the past few decades, more and more precipitation across the US has come via extreme one-day events, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Ethan Freedman has more.

What caused the massive flooding and mudslides in Yellowstone?

Yellowstone officials assess damage after historic floods

06:18 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Some of the worst damage happened in the northern part of the park and Yellowstone’s gateway communities in southern Montana.

National Park Service photos of northern Yellowstone showed a slide, washed-out bridges and roads undercut by churning floodwaters of the Gardner and Lamar rivers.

The flooding cut off road access to Gardiner, Montana, a town of about 900 people near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Gardner rivers, just outside Yellowstone’s busy North Entrance. Cooke City was also isolated by floodwaters and evacuations were also issued for residents in Livingston.

Officials in Park County said on Facebook Monday evening that extensive flooding throughout the county also had made drinking water unsafe in many areas. Evacuations and rescues were ongoing and officials urged people who were in a safe place to stay put overnight.

The Montana National Guard said Monday it sent two helicopters to southern Montana to help with the evacuations.

Cory Mottice, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Billings, Montana, said rain is not in the immediate forecast, and cooler temperatures will lessen the snowmelt in coming days.“This is flooding that we’ve just never seen in our lifetimes before.”

One group of backpackers remain after deluge sparks scramble to evacuate visitors

05:45 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

All visitors except a group of backpackers have now been evacuated after Yellowstone National Park was hit by a record deluge, according to officials.

Around 10,000 tourists to the world-famous park were asked to leave after roads and bridges were washed out as “unprecedented” flooding devastated areas of southern Montana.

Superintendent Cam Sholly told reporters that just one group of campers now remains in the park’s backcountry as officials take stock of the scope of damage that has been done.

There have not been any reports of any deaths caused directly by the flooding. Authorities say it is unclear if a body found in the Yellowstone River near Bozeman, Montana, is connected to the bad weather or not.

Graeme Massie reports.

Only backpackers remain after record deluge sparks scramble to evacuate Yellowstone

Part of Yellowstone to ‘remain closed for substantial length of time’

05:11 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Authorities on Monday announced that the northern portion of the Yellowstone National Park will likely remain closed for a “substantial length of time” due to severe damage caused by the deluge.“

Visitors traveling to park soon must stay informed about current situation, roads and weather,” it said on Twitter.

Yellowstone visits hit record high in 2021

04:49 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A record number of visitors flocked to Yellowstone National Park last year despite fewer hotel rooms and campsites being available due to the Covid-19 pandemic and construction projects.

About 4.86 million visits were tallied in 2021, breaking the prior record set in 2016. It’s a million more people than visited in 2020.

Known for its wolves, bears and other wildlife and thermal features such as the Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone will mark its 150th anniversary in 2022. It straddles the borders of northwestern Wyoming, southern Montana and eastern Idaho.

‘Adapt or die’: Get ready for floods, droughts and rising sea levels

04:00 , Josh Marcus

As the Yellowstone disaster proves, climate change will mean more flooding, and an emphasis on adaptation in addition to cutting emissions.

Last year, we had a look at the importance of readiness and climate adaptation in England, as the UK faces historic flood dangers of its own.

‘Adapt or die’: Get ready for floods and droughts, says Environment Agency

Family starts GoFundMe after house falls into river in Montana

03:34 , Josh Marcus

A family is crowdfunding relief funds after their home was swept away in historic flooding at Yellowstone National Park.

“I have always seen this kind of thing happening on the news or whatever to someone else and today I found out exactly how it feels and I understand now that it is truly overwhelming and exhausting,” the family wrote on their GoFundMe page. “I have experienced today the absolute best and worst of humanity. The concern, support and generosity from complete strangers, friends and family is absolutely amazing to me. Thank you all.”

Former Montana legislator says Yellowstone disaster shows ‘profound inequality'

03:04 , Josh Marcus

Former Montana legislator Tom Winter says the ongoing flooding and destruction in Yellowstone is a sign of “unchecked climate change” and “profound inequality” in the state of Montana.

He also noted that five families lived in a riverside house that was recorded collapsing into the river, a sign of the state’s housing problems.

“In short, it’s a Montana story. And our leaders could protect us, but won’t,” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

ICMYI: Chaos and flooding continues in Yellowstone

02:34 , Josh Marcus

All visitors except a group of backpackers have now been evacuated after Yellowstone National Park was hit by a record deluge, according to officials.

Tourists to the world-famous park were asked to get out after roads and bridges were washed out as “unprecedented” flooding devastated areas of southern Montana.

Graeme Massie had this report for The Independent on what is going on.

Only backpackers remain after record deluge sparks scramble to evacuate Yellowstone

WATCH: Video shows rockslide as cars exit Yellowstone

02:04 , Josh Marcus

Historic rains and snowmelt have set off floods and mudslides across Yellowstone Park.

One visitor caught video of the chaos.

Twitter user Anne Leppold said a car in front of her was struck by a rockslide as a procession of vehicles sought to exit the park’s North Entrance.

According to park officials, all those inside Yellowstone have been evacuated except a single group of hikers.

Another bit of (non-natural) history in Yellowstone

01:44 , Josh Marcus

As floods swept across Yellowstone National Park, officials reckoned with another historic challenge: confronting the famed park’s historical links to the genocide of Native Americans.

On Tuesday, a name change went into effect, renaming the park’s Mount Doane as First People’s Mountain.

The 10,551 peak was originally named for Gustavus Doane, a US army captain who killed at least 173 Native Americans, including numerous civilians, during the so-called Marias Massacre, an attack in response to the alleged murder of a white furrier.

27 different indigenous tribes have connections to the park, which was established in part at gunpoint by the US Army, who kept native peoples off their ancestral lands.

“The big myth about Yellowstone is that it’s a pristine wilderness untouched by humanity,” University of Montana anthropology professor Doug MacDonald told the Smithsonian Magazine. “Native Americans were hunting and gathering here for at least 11,000 years. They were pushed out by the government after the park was established. The Army was brought in to keep them out, and the public was told that Native Americans were never here in the first place because they were afraid of the geysers.”

Montana governor declares state of disaster as floods strike Yellowstone and beyond

01:24 , Josh Marcus

Montana governor Greg Gianforte declared a state of disaster in response to heavy flooding that caused devastation in Yellowstone National Park and beyond throughout the last few days.

So far, the Montana National Guard has rescued 12 people by helicopter, as communities near the park like Gardiner have been partially cut off from the outside due to destroyed infrastructure.

WATCH: Video shows sections of road missing after massive Yellowstone floods

01:04 , Josh Marcus

An aerial video feed shows the extent of damage from flooding in Yellowstone National Park.

Watch below, courtesy of the National Parks Service.

Yellowstone floods are only disaster hitting West

00:44 , Josh Marcus

As the climate crisis continues to alter the balance across a variety of natural systems, extreme weather events like the flooding in Yellowstone will only become more common.

As park officials seek to assess damage and rescue stranded visitors, many states across the country have experience climate-inflected disasters of their own.

In the Southwest, wildfires have proliferated amid high winds and dry conditions.

Meanwhile, apocalyptic wind storms tore through the Midwest.

Yellowstone: One group of backpackers remain after record deluge sparks scramble to evacuate 10,000

00:22 , Josh Marcus

All visitors except a group of backpackers have now been evacuated after Yellowstone National Park was hit by a record deluge, according to officials.

Tourists to the world-famous park were asked to get out after roads and bridges were washed out as “unprecedented” flooding devastated areas of southern Montana.

Superintendent Cam Sholly told reporters that just one group of campers now remains in the park’s backcountry as officials take stock of the scope of damage that has been done.

Graeme Massie has the details on this breaking news story here.

Only backpackers remain after record deluge sparks scramble to evacuate Yellowstone

What caused Yellowstone to shut down?

00:06 , Josh Marcus

A series of “unprecedented” rainstorms have created chaos inside Yellowstone National Park, which closed its gates to visitors on Monday.

The severe weather caused mudslides, with multiple roads being rendered impassible, and a bridge getting destroyed.

“Our first priority has been to evacuate the northern section of the park where we have multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides and others issues,” park superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement.

Guests already inside the park have been evacuated, and no return date has been announced.

Catch up on the latest with our report on what’s going on inside the park.

Yellowstone to remain closed after ‘extreme’ floods tear through park

Disaster strikes Yellowstone

00:03 , Josh Marcus

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the ongoing flooding in Yellowstone National Park.

Stick with The Independent for the latest news and updates on the critical situation.

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