The park announced Monday afternoon that all park entrances were closed to visitors, citing “record flooding events” and a forecast of more rain to come.
“Our first priority has been to evacuate the northern section of the park where we have multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides and other issues,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement Monday.
The Park County town of Gardiner, located at the northern entrance to Yellowstone, is isolated and surrounded by water after heavy flooding washed out bridges and roads, county officials said on Facebook on Tuesday.
Gardiner is a hub of activity in the region and the only entrance that remained open to wheeled-vehicle use year-round, according to the town website.
CNN tried to contact Park County officials to confirm how many people are affected but has been unable to reach them.
Many roads and bridges are inaccessible, along with some railroad tracks. A few roads and bridges remain open to emergency traffic. The National Guard and local rescue groups were conducting evacuations, water rescues and airlifts.
Officials on Tuesday warned residents that displaced wildlife could traverse their properties, with bears, deer and domestic livestock already spotted.
“The river has never been this high before by my house,” said Elizabeth Aluck, who lives in Gardiner. Aluck told CNN Monday afternoon that she cannot evacuate because the roads and bridges around her home are washed out.
An Indiana family staying at a short-term rental cabin in Gardiner told CNN they were supposed to leave Monday morning, but the flooding left them stranded.
“The water levels were high on Saturday but within the past 10 to 12 hours things have gotten rougher,” Parker Manning said. “Our way out of town would be north on 89, but those roads are currently all underwater.”
The Yellowstone River, which runs through the park and several Park County cities, swelled to a record high Monday due to recent heavy rainfall and significant runoff from melting snow in higher elevations, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
Governor declares statewide disaster
Snow melt and rainfall across the Beartooths and Absarokas — which span the Montana-Wyoming border — have led to “flooding rarely or never seen before across many area rivers and streams,” the National Weather Service in Billings said on its on website.
The Montana National Guard had evacuated 12 people…