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Efforts to rebuild parts of Yellowstone National Park damaged by severe floods last week may take years and cost more than $1B, according to estimates over the weekend. The assessment comes as park officials said Yellowstone’s southern loop, which includes the famed geyser Old Faithful, would reopen to a limited number of visitors Wednesday.
Heavy rains combined with melting snow over the June 10 weekend led to surging water levels across regions of southern Montana and northern Wyoming. Flooding in the northern half of Yellowstone washed out roads, destroyed bridges, and forced the evacuation of roughly 10,000 visitors (see photos). The high waters caused the nearby town of Billings, Montana, to temporarily suspend operations at its primary water plant.
The park’s limited construction season typically runs from around mid-April to late October. See aerial footage of the damage here.