Extreme flooding and rockslides in Montana this week caused Yellowstone National Park to close all entrances and emergency evacuate all guests. And while the park’s rescue protocols surely worked extremely well for most, some visitors still faced harrowing escapes from the natural disasters.
One Twitter user and park visitor documented his exit from the front seat of his truck. In the video, rain beats down around the bridge near the Bannock Trail. Luckily he found the only usable bridge that he could cross to get out of the park.
“Escaping from the cabin, the bridge to get into Silvergate washed away minutes before. We found the last way out through a bridge by a local cabin above the Bannock Trail,” user Bensei wrote of the experience.
Similar to other high-intensity escape vids where people run from natural disasters like tornadoes or wildfires, this video gives a heart-pounding first-person look at the power of Mother Nature. Water rises all around the truck as the man crosses a tiny pedestrian bridge to safety. Without finding that little bridge, the man may have had to abandon his vehicle and find an alternate route out of the mayhem.
Yellowstone National Park may not reopen for a very long time
The flooding and rockslides are a result of multiple weather factors all happening simultaneously. The snow from the mountains typically melts slowly this time of year, providing some much-needed precipitation to ground vegetation in normal conditions. But this year, thanks to the early heat wave scorching the entire country, the snow melted too quickly. As a result, it began rushing off of the mountains. Add in plenty of untimely rain from the skies thanks to low pressure systems, and you have a deadly recipe for uncontrollable, rising water.
“Effective immediately, all entrances to Yellowstone National Park are temporarily CLOSED. The closure is due to substantial flooding, rockslides and mudslides. [We’re experiencing] unprecedented amounts of rainfall and flooding,” read the park’s Monday media release. “Many park roads may remain closed for an extended period of time.”
As the video evidence suggests, the park closures aren’t because rangers are being precautious. Much of the park is literally underwater, including many roads and major highways.
This morning, footage of an entire house being swept away went viral on news outlets across the country. In the video, the house teeters on the edge of the river bank for just a moment. Then it fully falls down into the raging water, floating down the raging river like a boat. The river left almost no trace that a house ever even sat in its original location.
“We will not know timing of the park’s reopening until flood waters subside. Then we’re able to assess the damage throughout the park. It’s likely the northern loop will remain closed for a [long] time,” park superintendent Cam Sholly said of the disaster.