Yellowstone National Park employees led 10,000 visitors to safety this week as storms washed away roads and bridges, while nearby residents escaped as their homes were battered by mudslides and flooding brought on by record rainfall and melting snow.
In Billings, a southern Montana city home to nearly 120,000 people, officials asked residents to conserve water after flooding shut down the local water plant, according to a news release. And officials in Gardiner, Mont., warned residents that the water supply was contaminated and asked that all drinking water be boiled before consumption.
The park will be closed for the rest of the week as officials brace for more flooding in four to five days, when the forecast calls for rain and high temperatures that could melt the remaining foot of snow on Yellowstone’s mountains.
Here are some scenes of the damage:
Residents of Red Lodge, Mont., a town northeast of Yellowstone, cleared mud, water and debris from its main street on Tuesday.
Near the entrance to Yellowstone, floods washed part of North Entrance Road into the Gardner River.
A house in Red Lodge was pulled into Rock Creek by raging floodwaters. Officials said more than 100 houses in the town had flooded.
The Yellowstone River overflowed and caused bridges to collapse — including the Carbella Bridge — and swept homes in Gardiner into the floodwaters. Residents mobilized quickly on Facebook to find housing for families who were displaced.
“Montana folks, they take care of their own,” said Britton Gray, a pastor at the Gardiner Baptist Church who helped people find shelter.
Patrick Grey standing in the floodwaters around his home in Livingston, Mont., north of Yellowstone.
A home south of Livingston was surrounded by floodwater.
David Armstrong dumped a bucket of water from a flooded basement in Red Lodge.
The Montana Department of Transportation worked on Wednesday to fix another highway bridge that was damaged from the flooding.
The northern half of the park, which sustained the most damage, will probably remain closed for the remainder of the summer travel season.