Yellowstone road melting, at first glance, might seem like something that's out of an apocalyptic film. However, the Yellowstone road melting is an actual reality occurring right now. Reports have come out updating on the recent Yellowstone road melting which mainly occupies areas around the park's Firehole Lake Drive.
According to AccuWeather, due to the Yellowstone road melting around areas of the Firehole Lake Drive, it was closed on Thursday, July 10. Portions of the roadway's asphalt reportedly melted amid the recent intense heat of the summer in the Northwest.
The Los Angeles Times reports that it is also extreme heat from surrounding thermal areas which created a hot spot in Yellowstone National Park and thus caused portions of Yellowstone road melting away and ultimately the closure of the park during tourist peak season.
As of the current moment, officials are still unsure when the road, which provides visitors access to the scenic 3.3-mile loop by the Great Fountain Geyser, the White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake will reopen as the damage from the Yellowstone road melting, is severe, reports the Associated Press.
July's beginning has reportedly brought in temperatures in the Northwest which have consistently been at or above normal. In the park this week, temperatures were trending above normal and the western portion of the park reportedly reached 82 F and 81 F on Tuesday, July 8, and Wednesday, July 9. However, the average temperature for the park this time of year should reportedly be at 76 F.
This severe increase in the park's temperatures in the thermal areas surrounding Firehole Lake Drive caused extreme heat which ultimately led to the Yellowstone road melting. As seen in photos of the Yellowstone road melting, the asphalt roadway's surface already looks somewhat like bubbling oil. According to the LA Times, park spokesman Dan Hottle has even described the Yellowstone road melting as a "soupy mess."
— YellowstoneNPS (@YellowstoneNPS) July 10, 2014
The Yellowstone is known to be sitting atop the caldera of a super volcano, therefore temperature fluctuations, like this one which resulted in the Yellowstone road melting is reportedly normal for the park, says Hottle.
Though it is common for asphalt to become soft and sticky with oil and extreme heat, Hottle said that the appearance of the Yellowstone road melting today is extreme and unusual.
Hottle said, 'But it's hard to tell if a thermal area is hotter than normal, because it's always fluctuating here,". "Road closures are business as usual for us.'
In the meantime, Yellowstone park officials have urged visitors to avoid hiking on the affected area entirely, even if the road was closed for vehicles only.
Yellowstone Spokesperson Al Nash said to the Associated Press, 'There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park. I wouldn't risk personal injury to see these during this temporary close.'
Despite measures and efforts to figure out how to deal with the situation of the Yellowstone road melting, heat in the Northwest is expected to increase again this weekend and authorities said temperatures might reach slightly above normal this weekend and in the coming week.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Paul Walker said, 'The forecast for West Yellowstone has temperatures near 80 F each day through Monday. Temperatures each day next week will range from the mid-70s to the mid-80s, depending on elevation.'
According to the AP, park officials are currently evaluating how to address the problem and fix the Yellowstone road melting.
While the park considers the occurrence of Yellowstone road melting as normal from naturally changing thermal features, Park spokesman Al Nash said the repair might pose as a bigger challenge than typical repairs.
The road is expected to open next week, Hottle updates, since maintenance workers have to scrape up the melted goop and put down sand and lime to soak up whatever remains.
Yellowstone road melting apparently does not pose a threat to the number of visitors coming into the park. According to Hottle, he doubts the road closure would cause significant drop in visits as Yellowstone already had more than 415,000 visitors in the year alone, according to park statistics from May.