The park was hit by severe flooding this week caused by heavy rains and melting snow, according to park superintendent Cam Sholly. Two to three inches of rain fell in the park over the weekend, which was compounded by more than five inches of snow that melted due to the warmer weather.
There is still about 12 centimeters of snow on the park’s grounds, which could lead to more flooding.
As a result of the situation, roads were washed away, bridges collapsed and power supply was interrupted.
According to the National Park Service, most of the damage took place on the north side of the park, where the road was washed away in many places and there was a “major rockslide” near Gardner Canyon.
Landslides and fallen trees were also seen from Tower Junction to the northeast entrance. Flooding disrupted water and sewer systems in Canyon Village and Mammoth Hot Springs.
Power was also cut in several locations, leaving parts of Gardiner Village in Montana without water and electricity.
Important information for travelers
- Yellowstone is still repairing damage and preparing to reopen in the south, while the north is still recovering from flooding.
- All five park entrances are currently closed, but the west, south and east entrances are expected to reopen as early as next week.
- Water levels are still high but have dropped significantly in the last 24 hours.
- Weather conditions and the possibility of further flooding are being monitored with assistance from NOAA and USGS staff.
- The National Park Service is evaluating the carrying capacity of the South Loop and working with partners to develop appropriate visitor management strategies to safely accommodate visitors to this area of the park.
- The NPS is evaluating what other areas of the park can reopen for the season.
- Visitors should check the Yellowstone website, local chambers of commerce and social media for changes to ensure they have the most up-to-date information.
- The NPS does not yet have an estimate of when Yellowstone will fully reopen, nor does it have a preliminary cost for repairs and restoration.
“We’ve made tremendous progress in a very short period of time, but we have a long way to go,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “All emergency and life safety objectives within the park were achieved or stabilized within the first 96 hours of the flood event, with no serious injury or death. We have an aggressive recovery plan in the north and resumption of operations in the south. We appreciate the tremendous support of the National Park Service and the leadership of the Department of the Interior, as well as our congressional delegations, governors, counties, communities, and other partners. These first 96 hours were critical for us to be able to focus on our safety-of-life goals and stabilize emergency conditions while preparing recovery plans.”