Why is Yellowstone flooding? | The Sun
YELLOWSTONE National Park has been a landmark since 1872, giving visitors the chance to see wildlife and the stunning scenery.
While it is a popular attraction it was hit by flooding and rockslides on June 14, 2022, closing the park.
Where is Yellowstone National Park?
Yellowstone National Park is spread out over 2.2million acres and three states including Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
The park incorporates about half of the world's natural geysers, which is a natural spring that sends jets of boiling water and steam into the air.
Yellowstone is home to the best-known geyser in the world, Old Faithful, which erupts about every 60 to 90 minutes.
The 150-year anniversary of the establishment of Yellowstone as a national park was celebrated on March 1, 2022.
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Then-President Ulysses S. Grant signed the preservation of the park into law to protect the scenery, wildlife, cultural heritage, and the geologic and ecological systems.
The law titled Yellowstone National Park Protection Act was the first in the US to establish a piece of land as a protected national park, according to the National Park Service.
Why is Yellowstone flooding?
Severe flooding and rockslides have been reported in northern parts of the park caused by the weather conditions.
The affected areas have seen two to three months of rain in just three days.
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Snow melt and rainfall across the Beartooths and Absarokas – which span the Montana-Wyoming border – have led to "flooding rarely or never seen before across many area rivers and streams," the National Weather Service in Billings said.
It has been so severe some homes have been swept away due to the flooding.
The park has been evacuated and nearby communities are cut off without safe drinking water.
Around 40 people were airlifted to safety on June 13 and 14 by a Montana helicopter company from the town of Gardiner in Park County, CNN reports.
The forecast is for more rain to come.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte declared a “statewide disaster” on June 14, "to help impacted communities get back on their feet as soon as possible," according to a Twitter post.
Is Yellowstone National Park closed?
The park announced in the afternoon of June 13 all park entrances were closed to visitors, citing "record flooding events".
"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," Yellowstone Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement
"Well over 10,000 visitors" were in the park, according to Sholly, who said at a news conference he didn't have an exact number, but average visitation in June can be between 15,000 and 20,000 people.
Several cities just north of Yellowstone National Park, in Montana’s Park County, have also seen extensive flooding, washing out roads and bridges, making it unsafe to travel, Park County officials said in a Facebook post.
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Damage from flooding in the town of Gardiner is "significant," Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler said.
The National Guard and local rescue groups were conducting evacuations, water rescues and airlifts.
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