Fierce winds on Monday evening toppled trees onto the famed Lake Yellowstone Hotel in the southern area of Yellowstone National Park as a powerful cold front entered Wyoming.
David Reeves, of Yellowstone Tour Guides, shared photos of the hotel showing uprooted and snapped pine trees along with trees resting on the side of the iconic building.
Reeves told Cowboy State Daily that the storm reminded him of a miniature hurricane as he witnessed dozens of trees snapping and then crashing in front of him.
“It was insane," Reeves said. "It was the craziest storm I've ever seen."
Reeves, who has been guiding in Yellowstone since 2007, said he has seen trees fall several times when he's been out guiding or hunting but nothing like this.
"There were dozens and dozens of trees all snapping at the same time," he said. "It absolutely looked like a hurricane."
When the storm started ramping up, Reeves dropped his passengers off at the hotel where they "hunkered down" until it passed.
When it cleared up, the passengers reboarded and they drove around "looking at the carnage."
"We were all in disbelief -- like how did this happen?" he said.
What's more fascinating, Reeves said, was all the damage happened in a tiny window.
"Two to three minutes tops," he said.
It rained for quite awhile after the heavy winds but all the damage happened in under five minutes.
Condition of Hotel
As for the condition of the hotel, Reeves said he saw numerous trees leaning up against the building.
"I could tell there was damage to the corners of the building but I didn't see any trees that went through the roof," he said.
Reeves said trees were strewn about the roads, cars were damaged, and there were downed power lines as well.
Hotel staff declined to comment.
Meteorologist Don Day told Cowboy State Daily that Yellowstone wasn’t the only location to be affected by the strong storms.
He said Sublette, Sweetwater, Natrona, and Converse counties were all hit by severe weather.
“The thunderstorm winds are known as outflow boundaries,” Day said. “That’s when thunderstorms encounter dry air and the evaporation of rain helps induce very strong wind gusts.”
“As the rain-cooled air is more dense and rushes to the ground, wind gusts of 50 - 80 mph are common with higher wind guests of 90+ mph at times,” he said.
A 96 mph wind gust was recorded 10 miles northeast of Atlantic City, Wyoming on Monday evening while an 80 mph blast was clocked 14 miles north of Bar Nunn, Wyoming.
Day said the conditions on Monday and Tuesday were perfect for this activity as the cold front moved in from Montana.
This is the second day in a row that Pinedale was rocked by heavy storms as law enforcement reported that winds knocked down trees at Boyd Skinner Park in the
Well-known Wyoming photographer Dave Bell posted a photo on his Facebook page after the Sunday storm passed through the area.
“That was a heckuva storm,” Bell said on his Facebook page. “Anybody know of a good roofer? The ending was pretty, but the middle was not.”
Jimmy Orr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.