Flooding in Yellowstone National Park on Monday forced the closure of all entrances to the park, sweeping away at least one bridge and washing away roads.
The event forced the evacuation of some parts of the park cutting off electricity, although it was not clear how many visitors were forced to leave or have been stranded.
The park warned of rockslides and “extremely hazardous conditions on” Monday morning, tweeting that there would be no inbound visitor traffic at any of Yellowstone’s five entrances “effective immediately” and through Wednesday “at a minimum.”
“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,” superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement on the matter. “Our first priority has been to evacuate the northern section of the park where we have multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides and other issues. The community of Gardiner is currently isolated, and we are working with the county and State of Montana to provide necessary support to residents, who are currently without water and power in some areas.”
“Due to predictions of higher flood levels in areas of the park’s southern loop, in addition to concerns with water and wastewater systems, we will begin to move visitors in the southern loop out of the park later today in coordination with our in-park business partners. We will not know 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,” he continued. “I appreciate the efforts of the Yellowstone team and partners to safely evacuate areas of the park and of our gateway community partners who are helping us through this major event. We appreciate the support offered by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service and the Montana and Wyoming governors.”
Yellowstone said it would continue to communicate about the situation as more information becomes available.
Preliminary assessments showed multiple sections of roads were covered in mud and that multiple bridges may be affected.
The National Park Service said Yellowstone was taking precautionary measures to make sure wastewater and water treatment facilities are not failing.
Officials in Park County, including Gardiner, said on Facebook on Monday night that flooding had made drinking water unsafe in many areas.
The Park Service said it would work with surrounding continues and the states of Montana and Wyoming to provide support.
The Montana National Guard said Monday that it had sent two helicopters to help with evacuations.
“Flood levels measured on the Yellowstone River are beyond record levels,” it said.
The Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs crested at more than 13 feet on Monday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), surpassing the previous record of 11.5 feet in 1918.
In some areas, roads were impacted by as many as 3 feet of water. Yellowstone got 2.5 inches of rain over the weekend and into Monday.
However, rain is not in the immediate forecast and cooler conditions are expected in the coming days.
The rains hit at the height of the tourism season, with June being one of the park’s busiest months.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.