JACKSON, Wyo. — A supercell thunderstorm that moved across Teton County yesterday left scattered paths of destruction, creating obstructions on some of the valley’s roadways.
Frequent lightning and heavy downpours were reported as the storm moved across Teton Pass before tracking just north of the Town of Jackson.
Depending on where residents were located, some saw more destruction than others.
Jackson resident, Patrick McAlearney shared his account of the storm damage he witnessed when attempting to return to town from the Gros Ventre area.
“We came across what we believed was a handful of downed trees, one of which impeded the entire roadway near the east end of the road between Crystal Creek Campground and Red Rock Ranch,” said McAlearney.
McAlearney and his group successfully removed the first tree from the roadway with the winch on his truck only to find out there were more than 40 pines uprooted or snapped midway up their trunks laying across the road from Forest Road 30400 from the campground to the Grizzly Lake/Blue Miner trailhead.
“Together with the help of the other driver and [a camper], we were able to move nearly 35 downed trees to make the roadway usable enough to exit the river canyon and return to town.”
“When we got nearly finished from working East to West, we happened upon the family that manages Red Hills Ranch, and they had begun clearing the road with chainsaws from the West end. We were able to exit last night around 9 pm and upon exiting, the volunteer park ranger at the Goosewing Ranch Ranger Station closed the road.”
Heavy winds also caused a large tree on Bruun Boulevard to fall over, temporarily blocking the roadway.
“Law enforcement was called out to a ‘collision’ as the tree barely missed a motorist,” said Russ Ruschill, public information officer with Jackson Police Department.
“There were no injuries, and only minor property damage,” said Ruschill.
The tree was removed by Town of Jackson Public Works.
The storm also swept through Yellowstone National Park causing significant wreckage and hazardous conditions.
Officials have closed all entrances to the park and have had to evacuate visitors. The park can’t reopen until the flood waters subside and they can assess the damage.
Officials say that the community of Gardiner, Montana, just north of the park, was isolated because the roads going in and out of town are impassable. The power is out in some areas of the park.
“It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a substantial amount of time,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly.