- Tourists and residents were stranded Monday and Tuesday in areas near Yellowstone National Park.
- Officials were coordinating evacuations and deliveries of food, water and medicine.
- At least one roadway partially reopoened Tuesday afternoon.
- The flooding was a combination of rain and snowmelt.
Yellowstone National Park Tuesday afternoon, giving some tourists and residents potential floods caused by flood and melting snowpack.
Earlier, efforts were intended to evacuate tourists and deliver food, medicine and water to residents stranded in areas like Gardiner, Montana, on the north end of the park.
“Just don’t know how long people will be here, how long people will be stuck, there will be food, there will be water,” Gardiner, Montana, resident Schalene Darr told weather.com in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “There’s some anxiety that’s definitely going on.”
The unknown number of people were cut off from evacuation routes after the National Weather Service was “unprecedented” flooding roared through areas of southern Montana in and around Yellowstone National Park.
According to The Associated Press, it was not clear how many people could make it out that way. Authorities warned that driving was still dangerous.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths. A body was found in the Yellowstone River about 50 miles north near Bozeman Tuesday, but officials said it was not connected to flooding or not.
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Montana Governor Greg Gianforte declared a statewide disaster over the flood that turned Gardiner and other areas into islands between washed-out bridges and highways
“From the Mammoth to Gardiner, which is probably about a thousand feet elevation difference, coming down that canyon there, it’s a total loss.”
Desperate tourists asking for help took to social media. They were not comfortable staying in the tiny town. Local charter airline company.
Mitch Edwards, a pilot for Ridgeline Aviation in Gardiner, told weather.com he received about 25 calls in 30 minutes Tuesday morning from people wanting to fly out of the area.
The Billings Gazette reported, citing a news release from park officials.
The news release also said the park will work to resupply Gardiner residents with food, water and medicine and to evacuate tourists. The local water supply was contaminated and not safe to drink.
One video showed a plunging home into the Yellowstone River in Gardiner. Monday Another showed roads completely washed out inside the national park.
The communities of Red Lodge and Fishtail were also flooded.
Some evacuation orders were lifted, but others remained in effect Tuesday.
“It’s still a river flowing” down the streets, local resident John Clayton, whose house was flooded, told the Billings Gazette. “But it’s an almost fordable river now.”
The hospital in Livingston, Montana, closed at about 10 pm Monday night as floodwaters crept into the parking lot, according to the Gazette.
Yellowstone sits mostly in Wyoming but also stretches into Montana and Idaho. It was the first national park in the United States and remains one of the most popular. More than 5 million people visited the park last year, according to statistics from the National Park Service. June is one of the peak months for tourism in the park and surrounding areas, with about 1 million visitors recorded during the month last year.
Areas in the Beartooth and Absaroka mountains, on the north side of the park, received up to 5 inches of rain from Friday through Monday, according to the National Weather Service. That, combined with 2 to 5 inches of spring snowmelt, led to about 4 to 9 inches of extra water flowing into local waterways.
“This flood is rarely or never seen before many areas and streams,” a report from the NWS said.
While the rain ended and cooler temperatures moved in Tuesday, the NWS said the Clarks Fork Yellowstone River and its tributaries will continue to run high as the water moves through the system. A flood advisory was in effect until 10 pm MDT.
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