Crews Rescue Stranded Visitors after Wind Storm Downs Trees

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Date: June 2, 2015
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

A strong wind storm blew through Grand Teton National Park and surrounding areas shortly before 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 1. The event temporarily stranded visitors on the Teton Park, Moose-Wilson, and Signal Mountain Summit roads and blocked traffic in many other areas. Park rangers, road crews, and fire engines quickly responded to clear park roads of over 150 downed trees and search teams were able rescue all park visitors by 11:00 p.m. Despite the number of falling trees, no injuries were reported.

High winds were observed throughout the park, with wind speeds of 52 mph recorded at the Jackson Hole Airport at 5:56 p.m. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received reports of many downed trees and power lines blocking park roads, and disrupting access and service to campgrounds and other park areas shortly thereafter. Park rangers quickly compiled a list of affected areas which included: Teton Park Road at Cottonwood Creek, Catholic Bay on Jackson Lake, and Mount Moran Turnout; Moose-Wilson Road;Signal Mountain Summit Road; North Park Road near the Moran Entrance Station; Colter Bay Visitor Center and campground; Pilgrim Creek Road; Cattleman's Bridge Road; Deadman's Bar Road; and other ancillary areas in the park.

While response efforts were complicated by power, phone, and internet outages, park crews were able to clear over 150 trees and rescue all park visitors by 11:00 p.m. Park rangers kept watch at downed power line areas on the Teton Park and Pilgrim Creek roads through the night. Lower Valley Energy crews were able to remove downed lines from the Teton Park Road around 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, and the road was re-opened to travelers. Only minor property damage to vehicles and structures was reported.

While most park areas and services are open at this time, many areas are operating on backup power generators. Park maintenance crews and Lower Valley Energy are continuing to restore full functionality to utility systems, water systems, wastewater treatment facilities, and other park infrastructure. Full repair of this infrastructure is expected to take a few days.

Visitors to Grand Teton are reminded that severe weather can strike at any time during the summer months. Keep a keen eye to the sky, and be prepared to spend extended periods of time in your vehicle or campsite whenever severe thunderstorms occur. Downed power lines should always be treated as live and should never be approached.

Last updated: June 2, 2015

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