GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — Heavy rain that caused extensive damage to Going-to-the-Sun Road last week was unprecedented in Glacier National Park weather records, a park spokesman says.
From Nov. 2 through Nov. 7, 11 inches of rain was recorded at an automated weather station on Glacier's Flattop Mountain, and on Nov. 7 alone, 8.5 inches of rain fell, Ranger Matt Graves said.
And all of that moisture came down on a foot of snow which had an additional 2 inches of water content.
The result was widespread flooding, severe damage to the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road in several locations due to slides, and damage to Many Glacier Hotel.
"It seems pretty clear this was an historic event," Graves said. "These kinds of rainfall totals haven't been recorded at the Flattop station, and it's been in place since 1979. ... The most we've had in a single day there was 3 inches, and this exceeds that by threefold."
A cost estimate of the damage has not been determined, officials said.
However, the park is seeking emergency funding to repair Going-to-the-Sun Road, where crews planned to work over the Veterans Day weekend, Superintendent Mick Holm said Friday.
"Our intention is to get everything done that we can ... before the weather drives us off the mountain," Holm said.
Graves said it is believed that similar amounts of rain fell east of the Continental Divide in the Many Glacier Valley, where Swiftcurrent Lake rose well above its normal level, flooding the lower floor of Many Glacier Hotel.
The hotel was inaccessible for a time because of water flowing over the access road.
"Early reports are that there was about 6 inches of water on the ground floor," Graves said.
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