Stuck In The Mud: Thousands Of Non-Festival-Goers In Nevada Bogged Down In Desert.

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Thousands of people are stuck at a festival site in the Nevada desert after heavy rains swamped the area and created thick, ankle-deep mud which sticks to campers’ shoes and vehicle tires, making it impossible to drive. Campers have been told to stay put.

Burning Man Festival-goers were told by authorities to shelter in place in the Black Rock Desert and conserve food, water and fuel after a rainstorm swamped the area, forcing officials to stop anyone from entering or leaving the festival site.

“A little over 70,000 people,” remained stranded Saturday, Sgt. Nathan Carmichael, with the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN Sunday morning. Some people have left the site by walking out but “most of the RVs are stuck in place,” he said.

The remote area in northwest Nevada was hit with 2 to 3 months’ worth of rain – up to 0.8 inches – in just 24 hours between Friday and Saturday morning. The heavy rainfall fell on dry desert grounds, whipping up thick, clay-like mud festivalgoers said was too difficult to walk or bike through.

More rain is likely Sunday afternoon, according to a forecast from the National Weather Service office in Reno. “Stronger storms will be capable of very heavy rainfall, small hail, and wind gusts to 40+ mph,” the weather service noted.

Those conditions were likely to be in the Burning Man Festival area from around 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., CNN analysis showed.

“Conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa,” the Bureau of Land Management said in a statement obtained by the Reno Gazette Journal.

Playa is the term used to describe sunken dry lake beds in deserts where water evaporates rather than running off, and even a small amount of rain can quickly soak a large area.

Authorities have not provided information on when roads could reopen, but the sunshine is expected to return Monday.

“We do not currently have an estimated time for the roads to be dry enough for RVs or vehicles to navigate safely,” Burning Man organizers said in a Saturday evening statement. “Monday late in the day would be possible if weather conditions are in our favor. It could be sooner.”

Organizers noted the rain falling on an already saturated playa overnight and Sunday “will affect the amount of time it takes for the playa to dry.”

For now, the gate and airport into Black Rock City remain closed and no driving is allowed into or out of the city except for emergency vehicles, the organizers said on social media. Black Rock City is a temporary metropolis erected annually for the festival and comes complete with emergency, safety and sanitary infrastructure.

The rain “made it virtually impossible for motorized vehicles to traverse the playa,” the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said, noting people were advised to shelter in place until the ground has dried enough to drive on safely.

Vehicles trying to drive out will get stuck in the mud, Burning Man organizers said Saturday. “It will hamper Exodus if we have cars stuck on roads in our camping areas, or on the Gate Road out of the city,” the organizers added.

“If you are in BRC, please shelter in place & stay safe,” organizers said.

According to its Web site, Burning Man is not a festival.

“We don’t book acts or provide entertainment. What happens here is up to you! There is no corporate sponsorship. You are entering a “decommodified” space where participants value who you are, not what you have. There are no spectators! You are expected to participate, collaborate, be inclusive, creative, connective and clean up after yourself.”

Source: Yahoo! News.
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