No inbound traffic is allowed “until conditions stabilize and the park can assess damage to roads and bridges,” the post added. The North, North-East, West, South and East entrances are all closed.
“Our first priority has been to evacuate the northern portion of the park where we have multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides and other issues,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement.
Visitors will be evacuated from the park’s south loop beginning Monday due to forecasted rising flood levels and issues with the water supply and sewage treatment systems, the statement said.
The North Loop is likely to be closed “for a substantial amount of time”, and reopening of the park will be determined after floodwaters recede and damages are assessed.
Park staff are working with the county and state to provide support to residents of Gardiner, Montana, a town just north of the park that is currently isolated by the hazardous conditions, according to the release.
Several parts of the park are also experiencing power outages, the park said in its posts.
“With additional rainfall forecast, the park does not want large numbers of daytime visitors stranded in the park,” the park said on Facebook and its website.
“The river has never been so high near my house,” said Elizabeth Aluck, a resident of Gardiner, which serves as a gateway for visitors.
On Monday afternoon, Aluck said she was unable to evacuate as roads and bridges in the area were washed out.
“Things got harder”
A family staying in a short-term rental house in Gardiner near the park entrance can no longer leave their rental cabin due to flooding in the area.
Melissa and Parker Manning, a couple from Indiana, told CNN they arrived at their rental on Saturday with their family and expected to leave Monday morning.
“It’s not happening anytime soon,” Parker Manning said. “Water levels were high on Saturday, but over the past 10-12 hours things have gotten more difficult.”
The couple joined a call with emergency management officials on Monday afternoon. Appeal officials suggested local businesses consider food rationing, just in case.
Manning said they went to the grocery store and everyone was smart about what to stock up on and not freaking out.
“Our way out of town would be north on 89, but those roads are all under water right now,” Manning said.
The couple don’t know when they’ll be able to leave town, but Manning hopes it will be within the next 48 hours.
The host of their rental was very understanding of the situation, Manning added.
Avoid creeks and streams
Earlier Monday, the park said in a news release that roads in the northern part of the park would be temporarily closed for “an extended period” before posting a broader closure.
“Preliminary assessments show that several sections of road in the park have been washed out between Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana, and several bridges may be affected,” the statement said, adding that visitors to the northern portion are being evacuated.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the park on Monday and advised campers and hikers to avoid creeks and creeks.
“Turn around, don’t drown when you encounter flooded roads,” the NWS warned people in vehicles.
Mammoth, Osprey Falls, Indian Creek Campground and Lava Creek Campgrounds, all within the park, are expected to experience flooding, the weather service said.
The Yellowstone River reached record highs Monday in the Montana towns of Corwin Springs and Livingston.
In Corwin Springs, the river rose more than 5 feet Monday morning, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s river gauge. The gauge reading was 13.85 feet on Monday afternoon, surpassing the historic peak of 11.5 feet from 1918.
The river gauge at Livingston was a record 10.9 feet.
June rainfall was above 400% of average in northwest Wyoming and southern Montana, according to CNN meteorologists.
Top image: High water levels in the Gardner River along the North Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park.