A torrent of rain with a rapidly melting snowpack has caused a deluge of flooding has forced closure of Yellowstone National Parks.
It was reported on Tuesday June 14, 2022, that the conditions also forced the evacuation of some parts of Yellowstone National Park, cutting of electricity and closure of all entrances indefinitely.
While numerous homes and other structures were destroyed, there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Yellowstone officials said they were assessing damage from the storms, which washed away bridges, caused mudslides and left small cities isolated, forcing evacuations by boat and helicopter.
It’s unclear how many visitors are stranded or have been forced to leave the park and how many residents outside the park have been rescued and evacuated.
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 mudslide, 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, which encompasses those cities, 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,” Mottice said.
At a cabin in Gardiner, Parker Manning of Terra Haute, Indiana, got an up-close view of the water rising and the river bank sloughing off in the raging Yellowstone River floodwaters just outside his door.
“We started seeing entire trees floating down the river, debris,” Manning told The Associated Press.
“Saw one crazy single kayaker coming down through, which was kind of insane.”
On Monday evening, Manning watched as the rushing waters undercut the opposite riverbank, causing a house to fall into the Yellowstone River and float away mostly intact.
The Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs crested at 13.88 feet (4.2 meters) Monday, higher than the previous record of 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) set in 1918, according the the National Weather Service.
Floodwaters inundated a street in Red Lodge, a Montana town of 2,100 that’s a popular jumping-off point for a scenic, winding route into the Yellowstone high country.
Twenty-five miles (40 kilometers) to the northeast, in Joliet, Kristan Apodaca wiped away tears as she stood across the street from a washed-out bridge, The Billings Gazette reported.