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Sports >  Outdoors

Massive flooding in Yellowstone National Park forces closure; dramatic video shows washed out roads, swollen rivers

UPDATED: Wed., June 15, 2022

High water levels in the Gardner River alongside the North Entrance Road.  (NPS photo)
High water levels in the Gardner River alongside the North Entrance Road. (NPS photo)

Historic flooding caused by torrential rains have forced the closure of all Yellowstone National Park entrances Monday. 

“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,” said park superintendent Cam Sholly in a statement. “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.”

WyoFile, a nonprofit news organization covering Wyoming, reported Monday that “a U.S. Geological Survey gauge on the Lamar River near the Tower Ranger Station tells the tale of the remarkable weather event. The tributary to the Yellowstone River on Monday topped 18,000 cubic feet of water per second, which surpassed the previous daily record by nearly 50%. The Lamar rose so high that its peak water level, 17 feet over the riverbed, surpassed the gauge’s ‘operational limit’ by 2 feet, and the water level was 5 feet higher than during any other time in 82 years of recordkeeping.”

The flooding had cut-off the town of Gardiner which is where most National Park employees live, WyoFile reported. The road between Mammoth and Gardiner is “pretty much gone,” reported WyoFile.

The flooding comes after a dry winter and WyoFile reports that “there was a record-low April 1 snowpack in the Yellowstone River headwaters, but that snow stuck around because of a wet, cool spring. Sunday and Monday’s torrential rains melted much of that snow, and the combined precipitation overwhelmed the waterways coursing through and surrounding the park.”

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