Forecasters sound the alarm

A spring storm, exacerbated by snow melt, ravaged much of Yellowstone National Park in mid-June. Forecasters worry climate change may create similar catastrophes in the near future.


National News

July 7, 2022 - 3:21 PM

In a photo provided by the National Park Service, water levels in Gardner River rise alongside the North Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park on June 13 in Gardiner, Montana. Photo by (National Park Service/Getty Images/TNS)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Yellowstone National Park area’s weather forecast the morning of June 12 seemed fairly tame: warmer temperatures and rain showers would accelerate mountain snow melt and could produce “minor flooding.” A National Weather Service bulletin recommended moving livestock from low-lying areas but made no mention of danger to people.

By nightfall, after several inches of rain fell on a deep spring snowpack, there were record-shattering floods.

Torrents of water poured off the mountains. Swollen rivers carrying boulders and trees smashed through Montana towns over the next several days. The flooding swept away houses, wiped out bridges and forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 tourists, park employees and residents near the park.

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