Yellowstone flooding: Why is it happening now?
Rain falling on snow caused this week’s floods, events that will become more likely as temperatures warm.
Yellowstone National Park evacuated more than 10,000 visitors on Tuesday after flash floods roared through the park. Roads and bridges washed away, sewage lines broke, and the park’s gateway communities were cut off from roads. Yellowstone remains closed, and the north entrance gate will likely not reopen this season.
Even as scientists and land managers are taken aback by the magnitude of the floods, unprecedented in 100 years of recorded history, they recognize the similarities to the events their data predicted. They just weren’t anticipating them to occur this year.
“As a scientist I would say, well, this is completely in line with what we might expect,” says Cathy Whitlock, a paleoclimatologist and lead author of the Greater Yellowstone Climate