In a scene out of a disaster movie, a rockslide almost crushed a passing SUV in Yellowstone National Park yesterday. A person in the vehicle directly behind the SUV caught the terrifying footage on camera, People Magazine wrote.
Heavy rains, snow melts, and flooding caused rockslides and mudslides this week in certain parts of Montana and Wyoming. As a result, park officials and local police urged all residents and visitors to evacuate immediately. Park rangers also completely closed the park to all visitors — the first such peak-season closure since wildfires destroyed some of the park in 1988.
In the 8-second video, a red SUV drives carefully along a damaged road with lots of mountain debris on either side. Suddenly, a rock slide rolls through the road, narrowly missing the SUV with a boulder large enough to significantly damage it.
Instagram user Anne Leppold recorded the incident from behind, then posted it to social media.
“Gotta be cautious traveling in mountains during rain storms! I made it out of Yellowstone safely but not before catching these poor guys get their car hit by a rock fall! The riders seemed okay luckily. I’m in the Glacier NP area right now and re-figuring my travel plans. More adventure pics later! Stay safe anyone nearby, and don’t go to Yellowstone for a while,” she wrote on Instagram.
Yellowstone National Park lost large sections of roads and some buildings in the flooding
Cam Sholly, the park’s superintendent, said in a statement that he closed the park 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.
Apparently over the weekend the Yellowstone River increased vertically by six feet. It’s the largest jump in over a century for the body of water. And 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 National Park’s north entrance.
“Many sections of road in these areas are completely gone. They will require substantial time and effort to reconstruct,” the park said in a release. “The National Park Service will make every effort to repair these roads as soon as possible; however, it is probable that road sections in northern Yellowstone will not reopen this season due to the time required for repairs.”
The good news from the massive rains and lack of human traffic? Wildlife viewings are spectacular right now, Sholly said in a press interview yesterday.
“The million dollar question is, ‘What’s the damage?’ And the answer is, we don’t know yet,” Sholly admitted. “We’re not putting teams in harm’s way at the moment. Teams from around the country will be pulled into help assess damage to various infrastructure in the park.”
“As far as the animals… This has been the most spectacular animal viewing I’ve seen in the last six weeks. As of right now we don’t think the animals have been largely affected,” he said.