Heavy rains combined with rapid snowmelt caused devastating floods that forced more than 10,000 people out of America’s oldest national park.
Gorgeous landscapes have been turned into scenes from a disastrous movie.
The housing describes how the water moved from gutter to torrent within a few hours. Bridges have been cut, roads broken, and homes destroyed. The waterways have been flooded so violently that they are given a new path.
A home for park workers in the Yellowstone River overturned after water bodies tore up the riverbank below. The house roamed eight kilometers before it sank. In the small village of Red Lodge, fish swam up Main Street after submerging a stream running through the community.
Warning: there may be more
Director Kam Choli said the national park will be closed for at least a week and the northern entrances may not open all summer.
– I’ve heard that this is the millennium event, whatever that may mean at the present time. It seems to be happening more and more, Schole says, and warns of new floods.
But the floods have also caused damage in the rest of the area and national park officials are warning of worse flooding and problems with water supply and sewage systems in populated areas.
The flood hit the area with the start of the tourist season. Millions of people usually visit the area and the number is expected to increase this year when it marks the 150th anniversary.
Communities around the park that live and die with tourism are beginning to recover from the downturn during the coronavirus pandemic. Now they can instead see the rescued tourists by rafts and helicopters.
The floods are occurring as a heat wave sweeps across the Midwest and East Coast and early wildfires are raging in the western United States.
Although the flooding cannot be directly attributed to climate change, humans have contributed to the increased risks of extreme weather, according to Rick Thoman, a climate expert at the University of Alaska. He explains that a warmer climate makes extreme weather more bearable than it would have been “without human-caused warming”.
Will this happen in Yellowstone again in five or fifty years? Probably not, but the same thing will happen somewhere, or something more extreme.
Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the world. It was founded in 1872 and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.
The park contains the world’s largest area with hot springs and hot springs, but it also has gorgeous waterfalls and deep canyon formations, where partially yellow bedrock can be seen.
The park has a large number of animals, including grizzly bear, black bear, fabetta, bison and pronghorn antelope as well as about 200 species of birds.
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