The annual Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada was shut down today after light overnight rains left the area known as the Playa flooded and muddy, officials said.
Organizers advised festival-goers heading to the annual event to postpone their arrival until at least midday tomorrow. Burning Man was providing updates on Twitter.
Zach Tolby, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Reno, Nevada told us that the rains were very light—only two-tenths of an inch worth at the most—but that ...
" ... they're out on a dry lakebed and it gets really greasy out there."
In a statement sent to the Weekly, organizers said:
Black Rock City has shut down following rainstorms that left standing water on the playa, leaving it un-drivable.
Rudy Evenson of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which runs the property where Burning Man is held each year, said the main gate to the party was closed down this morning "because there was too much rain. When it dries out they'll let people in again."
According to the Burning Man statement:
Nevada Highway Patrol will be directing traffic away from Highway 447 at Wadsworth. Local law enforcement have also begun turning around traffic at the event entrance on Highway 34 northeast of Gerlach. Drivers are being instructed to find a safe location to park until the expected re-opening of the event on Tuesday.
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Tolby of the National Weather Service said a few more showers could happen today and tonight but that the low pressure system that caused the precipitation would move out and the normal, hot temps that are the trademark of the desert fest would return along with the possibility of some wind later in the week.
Organizers were expecting nearly 70,000 people for the event that was scheduled for Monday through Labor Day.
[Update at 10:42 p.m.]: Organizers emailed us say the event will open sooner than expected—at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Roads to the Playa will also reopen by then, they said.