Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Extreme Flooding 'Never Seen in Our Lifetimes Before'

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Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Extreme Flooding 'Never Seen in Our Lifetimes Before'

All entrances to Yellowstone National Park have been closed to inbound traffic after record rainfall has created hazardous conditions.

The closures are expected to last through Wednesday — at least — according to a news release issued by the park Monday. No injures or deaths have yet been reported.

Cam Sholly, the park's superintendent, said in a statement that the closures were due to "record flooding events and more precipitation in the forecast."

"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," Sholly said.

In one alarming example, The Washington Post reported that the Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs, Montana, jumped six feet between Sunday and Monday, marking the highest recorded level since 1918.

According to the Associated Press, the flooding also caused road access to be cut off to Gardiner, Montana — a town of about 900 people, positioned outside Yellowstone's north entrance.

Locals Trapped After Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Historic Flooding
Locals Trapped After Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Historic Flooding

Yellowstone National Park/Twitter

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"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," Sholly said Monday.

Locals Trapped After Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Historic Flooding
Locals Trapped After Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Historic Flooding

Yellowstone National Park/Twitter Yellowstone National Park Flooding

Elizabeth Aluck, a resident of Gardiner, told CNN that the river "has never been this high before" by her house. The outlet added that as of Monday afternoon, Aluck said she was not able to evacuate because the roads and bridges in the area had been washed out.

The AP reported that the flooding comes just as peak tourism season begins. With school out for summer, June is one of Yellowstone's busiest months.

Locals Trapped After Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Historic Flooding
Locals Trapped After Yellowstone Closes All Entrances Due to Historic Flooding

Yellowstone National Park/Twitter Yellowstone National Park

Sholly said that due to the anticipation of higher flooding in the park's southern loop, officials were planning to begin to move visitors out of that area of the park starting later Monday.

"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," he explained.  "It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a substantial amount of time."

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In footage posted to Twitter by the National Park Service, areas of the park's North Entrance Road that runs through the Gardner Canyon between Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs are seen "eroded and washed out in several places" due to the high water levels from the river running beside it.

Cory Mottice, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Billings, Montana, told the AP that the flooding would not have been as severe if not for the snow that's still melting from the tops of the mountains.

"It's a lot of rain, but the flooding wouldn't have been anything like this if we didn't have so much snow," Mottice said. "This is flooding that we've just never seen in our lifetimes before."