cloudyn.png
Saturday November 26th, 2022 6:16PM

After Yellowstone, floodwaters near Montana's largest city

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RED LODGE, Mont. (AP) — Floodwaters that rushed through Yellowstone National Park and surrounding communities earlier this week moved through Montana's largest city on Wednesday, flooding farms and ranches and forcing the shutdown of its water treatment plant.

The water in the Yellowstone River hit its highest level in nearly a century as it traveled east to Billings, Montana, home to nearly 110,000 people. It hit 16 feet (4.9 meters), a foot (30 centimeters) higher than the water plant needs to work effectively.

The historic floodwaters raged through the nation’s oldest national park earlier this week and may have forever altered the human footprint on Yellowstone's terrain and the communities that have grown around it.

The floodwaters tore out bridges and poured into nearby homes. They pushed a popular fishing river off course — possibly permanently — and may force roadways nearly torn away by torrents of water to be rebuilt in new places.

“The landscape literally and figuratively has changed dramatically in the last 36 hours,” said Bill Berg, a commissioner in nearby Park County. “A little bit ironic that this spectacular landscape was created by violent geologic and hydrologic events, and it’s just not very handy when it happens while we’re all here settled on it.”

The unprecedented flooding drove more than 10,000 visitors out of park and damaged hundreds of homes in nearby communities, though remarkably no was reported hurt or killed. The only visitors left in the massive park straddling three states were a dozen campers still making their way out of the backcountry.

The park could remain closed as long as a week, and northern entrances may not reopen this summer, Superintendent Cam Sholly said.

“I’ve heard this is a 1,000-year event, whatever that means these days. They seem to be happening more and more frequently,” he said.

Sholly noted some weather forecasts include the possibility of additional flooding this weekend.

Days of rain and rapid snowmelt wrought havoc across parts of southern Montana and northern Wyoming, where it washed away cabins, swamped small towns and knocked out power. It hit the park as a summer tourist season that draws millions of visitors was ramping up during its 150th anniversary year.

Businesses in hard-hit Gardiner had just started really recovering from the tourism contraction brought by the coronavirus pandemic, and were hoping for a good year, Berg said.

“It’s a Yellowstone town, and it lives and dies by tourism, and this is going to be a pretty big hit,” he said. “They’re looking to try to figure out how to hold things together.”

Some of the worst damage happened in the northern part of the park and Yellowstone’s gateway communities in southern Montana. National Park Service photos of northern Yellowstone showed a mudslide, washed out bridges and roads undercut by churning floodwaters of the Gardner and Lamar rivers.

In Red Lodge, a town of 2,100 that’s a popular jumping-off point for a scenic route into the Yellowstone high country, a creek running through town jumped its banks and swamped the main thoroughfare, leaving trout swimming in the street a day later under sunny skies.

Residents described a harrowing scene where the water went from a trickle to a torrent over just a few hours.

The water toppled telephone poles, knocked over fences and carved deep fissures in the ground through a neighborhood of hundreds of houses. Electricity was restored by Tuesday, but there was still no running water in the affected neighborhood.

Heidi Hoffman left early Monday to buy a sump pump in Billings, but by the time she returned her basement was full of water.

“We lost all our belongings in the basement,” Hoffman said as the pump removed a steady stream of water into her muddy backyard. “Yearbooks, pictures, clothes, furniture. Were going to be cleaning up for a long time.”

At least 200 homes were flooded in Red Lodge and the town of Fromberg.

The flooding came as the Midwest and East Coast sizzle from a heat wave and other parts of the West burn from an early wildfire season amid a persistent drought that has increased the frequency and intensity of fires. Smoke from a fire in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona, could be seen in Colorado.

While the flooding hasn't been directly attributed to climate change, Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said a warming environment makes extreme weather events more likely than they would have been "without the warming that human activity has caused.”

“Will Yellowstone have a repeat of this in five or even 50 years? Maybe not, but somewhere will have something equivalent or even more extreme,” he said.

Heavy rain on top of melting mountain snow pushed the Yellowstone, Stillwater and Clarks Fork rivers to record levels Monday and triggered rock and mudslides, according to the National Weather Service. The Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs topped a record set in 1918.

Yellowstone's northern roads may remain impassable for a substantial length of time. The flooding affected the rest of the park, too, with park officials warning of yet higher flooding and potential problems with water supplies and wastewater systems at developed areas.

The rains hit just as area hotels filled up in recent weeks with summer tourists. More than 4 million visitors were tallied by the park last year. The wave of tourists doesn’t abate until fall, and June is typically one of Yellowstone’s busiest months.

At a cabin in Gardiner, Parker Manning of Terre Haute, Indiana, got an up-close view of the roiling Yellowstone River floodwaters just outside his door.

In early evening, he shot video as the waters ate away at the opposite bank where a large brown house that had been home to park employees before they were evacuated was precariously perched.

In a large cracking sound heard over the river's roar, the house tipped into the waters and was pulled into the current.

The towns of Cooke City and Silvergate, just east of the park, were also isolated by floodwaters, which also made drinking water unsafe. People left a hospital and low-lying areas in Livingston.

___

Whitehurst reported from Salt Lake City. Associated Press writers Amy Beth Hanson in Helena, Becky Bohrer in Juneau, Alaska, R.J. Rico in Atlanta, and Brian Melley in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Federal transit agency orders improvements to Boston system
Federal transportation officials have issued orders to the Boston area’s troubled public transit agency to address what they called longstanding issues with the system’s overall safety program and safety culture
3:33PM ( 7 minutes ago )
After Yellowstone, floodwaters near Montana's largest city
Floodwaters that rushed through Yellowstone National Park and surrounding communities earlier this week are moving through Montana’s largest city, flooding farms and ranches and forcing the shutdown of its water treatment plant
3:31PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Fauci tests positive for virus, has mild COVID-19 symptoms
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of America’s pandemic response through two White House administrations, has tested positive for the coronavirus
3:25PM ( 15 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Fauci tests positive for COVID-19, has 'mild symptoms'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of America’s pandemic response through two White House administrations, has tested positive for the coronavirus
3:21PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Buffalo supermarket gunman charged with federal hate crimes
The gunman who killed 10 Black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket has been charged with federal hate crimes that could potentially carry a death penalty
3:17PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Retail sales in May slip 0.3% amid surging inflation
Americans trimmed their spending unexpectedly in May compared with the month before, underscoring how surging inflation on daily necessities like gas is causing them to be more cautious about buying discretionary items
3:09PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Stocks hold gains after Fed hikes rates to fight inflation
Stocks are still higher on Wall Street Wednesday, but they’re swinging up and down following the Federal Reserve’s biggest hike to interest rates since 1994 in its quest to beat back inflation
2:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Stocks climb to claw back some losses as Fed decision looms
U.S. stocks are rising Wednesday and on track for their first gain in six days
1:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden to send Ukraine more weapons; Russia targets depot
President Joe Biden says the U.S. will send another $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, the largest single tranche of weapons and equipment since the war began
1:35PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Floods leave Yellowstone landscape 'dramatically changed'
Historic floodwaters that raged through Yellowstone National Park may have permanently altered the course of a popular fishing river and left the sweeping landscape forever changed
10:51AM ( 4 hours ago )
FDA advisers weigh COVID-19 shots for babies, young children
U.S. government advisers met Wednesday to decide whether to endorse COVID-19 shots for the youngest children, moving the nation closer to vaccinations for all ages
10:17AM ( 5 hours ago )
Odessa, Texas, remains without water as temperatures soar
Residents of the West Texas city of Odessa remained without water as crews worked to restore service amid scorching temperatures in the area
9:38AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Festival founded by Dua Lipa's father decamps from Kosovo
An international music festival founded by the father of singer-songwriter Dua Lipa to promote his native Kosovo has led to recriminations for the small European country after it lost the event to neighboring Albania
2:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
Russia again cuts natural gas exports thru European pipeline
Russia’s Gazprom has announced a reduction in natural gas flows through a key European pipeline for the second day in a row
1:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden seeks to counter state actions he sees as anti-LGBTQ
President Joe Biden is issuing executive orders to stymie what the White House says are discriminatory legislative attacks on the LGBTQ community by Republican-controlled states
1:28PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
German govt seeks to resolve wind power dispute with states
The German government has unveiled a bill to resolve a long-running dispute between federal authorities and the country’s 16 states over where to build land-based wind power plants
8:09AM ( 7 hours ago )
China's factory activity rebounds as anti-virus curbs ease
China’s factory output rebounded in May, adding to a recovery from the latest economic slump induced by COVID-19 curbs
1:46AM ( 13 hours ago )
Biden focuses on workers as high inflation remains a risk
President Joe Biden has told the largest federation of labor unions that he’s rebuilding the U.S. economy around workers
5:52PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Federal transit agency orders improvements to Boston system
Federal transportation officials have issued orders to the Boston area’s troubled public transit agency to address what they called longstanding issues with the system’s overall safety program and safety culture
3:33PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Fauci tests positive for virus, has mild COVID-19 symptoms
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of America’s pandemic response through two White House administrations, has tested positive for the coronavirus
3:25PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Fauci tests positive for COVID-19, has 'mild symptoms'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of America’s pandemic response through two White House administrations, has tested positive for the coronavirus
3:21PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Buffalo supermarket gunman charged with federal hate crimes
The gunman who killed 10 Black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket has been charged with federal hate crimes that could potentially carry a death penalty
3:17PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Retail sales in May slip 0.3% amid surging inflation
Americans trimmed their spending unexpectedly in May compared with the month before, underscoring how surging inflation on daily necessities like gas is causing them to be more cautious about buying discretionary items
3:09PM ( 32 minutes ago )