Unprecedented rain and rapid snowmelt in recent days have caused rivers to burst in parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, swallowing bridges and sweeping entire sections of road.
More than 10,000 visitors have been evacuated to Yellowstone National Park. All entrances to the park are expected to remain closed until at least Monday.
“At two streams, the Yellowstone River in Corwin Springs and the Yellowstone River in Livingston, peak current flow was above the 0.2% flood level (or 1 in 500 years),” USGS hydrologist Catherine Chase said in the statement.
Offstream, “The Yellowstone River in Billings was between 1% (or 1 in 100 years) and 0.2% (1 in 500 years), according to the release, which noted that stream-flow data is “currently reported” as “provisional.” “until follow-up analyzes of the flow and data channel are completed.”
However, Chase noted in the statement, “While these floods are often cited as greater than (or rarer than) one event in every 500 years, there is the same probability that they can occur in any given year.”
In a three-day period last week, Yellowstone National Park received nearly two to three times the usual rainfall for the entire month of June, and this month’s rainfall was already more than 400% of average in northwestern Wyoming and southern Montana, according to the National Park Service. National Weather Service.
Reopening of the South Yellowstone Loop
According to the release, the National Park Service doesn’t yet have an estimated date for the entire park to reopen — and no idea of total repair costs. The release summarizes an extensive list of repairs required for roads and infrastructure in each section of the park to reopen.
“We have made tremendous progress in a very short period of time but we still have a long way to go,” Superintendent Cam Scholey said in the statement. “All emergency and life safety objectives within the park were achieved or stabilized within the first 96 hours of the flooding, without major injuries or deaths.”
The park service announced Saturday that the park’s southern loop will open to the public on Wednesday.
According to a press release from Yellowstone National Park, “At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22, Yellowstone National Park will begin allowing visitors to access the park’s southern ring.” “The southern loop is accessed from east (Cody), west (west of Yellowstone), and south (Grand Teton/Jackson). Accessible areas include Madison, Old Faithfull, Grant Village, Lake Village, Canyon Village and Norris.”
Backcountry areas accessible from roads open to the public will only be available for daily use, according to the release. Overnight use of the trails will open in the south on July 1.
While the North Loop was closed, “Park staff have engaged more than 1,000 business owners, park partners, commercial operators, and residents of surrounding gate communities to determine how to manage summer visits,” according to the park service.
To ensure that visitors are not overwhelmed in the southern ring and to balance the demand for visitor access, the park will develop a temporary visitor entry plan,” according to the statement.
“The interim plan, referred to as the Alternating License Plate System (ALPS), was proposed as a solution by the gateway communities during a major public engagement with the park last week,” the statement read.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte struck an optimistic tone about flood recovery and rebuilding as he encouraged continued tourism to the Big Sky State. “The best days lie ahead,” he told reporters Friday.
“We’re open,” Gianforte said of Yellowstone Park. “You have to come.” “The vitality of our communities depends on it. We are open to business, and we want you to come.”
Officials said earlier that the northern part of the park will likely remain closed for the remainder of the season.