Thousands of Burning Man attendees finally made a mass exodus after torrential rains over the weekend inundated campsites and filled them with ankle-deep mud — stranding more than 70,000 spirited revelers as they waited for the Nevada desert city to dry out.
Organizers officially He announced that the driving ban imposed amid heavy rain on Friday had been lifted Monday afternoon, and attendees could safely leave Black Rock City, the temporary city constructed each year for the event.
Organizers warned that the area was still muddy and parts of it were still difficult to navigate, and the wait time to leave the city increased on Monday evening. It was about seven hours. But that’s not unusual: It has taken six to nine hours during peak travel times in past years, according to Burning Man website.
By Tuesday morning, the situation had improved significantly:
“There is an estimated two to three hour wait to leave Black Rock City,” festival organizers say Published on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Everyone should get plenty of rest before starting to travel on the highway. Expect delays and be alert for debris caused by other vehicles on the highway at higher speeds. Travel safe.”
For many attendees, being stranded in the desert and missing flights and other responsibilities was stressful and unsettling. But some said the weather problems had brought the camp communities closer together, as people shared food and resources, offered shelter to those who needed it, and banded together.
“Once the tents became waterlogged or unlivable, people in the RVs started to fit into some of the tents, so everyone was warm,” Kaz Kamaruddin, who attended the event, told CNN’s Brianna Kilar on Monday.
“We are a community that comes together in difficult times,” he said, later adding: “It’s all about coming together and working as a team.”
Diplo, Cindy Crawford and other celebrities navigate the muddy desert
By the time officials lifted the travel ban, thousands of people had already left, some on foot, while others tested their luck in cars.
Among the early departures was DJ Diplo, who told CNN that he walked several miles in the muddy desert on Saturday morning with other celebrities, including Chris Rock, Cindy Crawford, Kaia Gerber and Austin Butler. When they reached the paved road, a fan offered to give them a ride in the back of the truck.
Of the 72,000 people who were still at the site late Sunday evening, about 64,000 remained by midday Monday, organizers said.
Many remained listening to the officials’ recommendations, waiting for the climax of the event: burning the man.
A day later than scheduled, the massive wooden statue known as “The Man” was set on fire on Monday night.
After the first rains flooded the campsites on Friday, event leaders I alerted Those present said that driving is no longer allowed in the city. It prevented entry and exit in the area, and urged residents to “shelter in place, And conserve food and water.
The remote region of northwestern Nevada received up to 0.8 inches — about twice the average September rainfall — in just 24 hours between Friday morning and Saturday. More rain followed on Sunday.
“A very wet start to September for much of eastern California and western Nevada,” the National Weather Service in Reno said. Written on X. “The heaviest rain fell in far eastern Churchill and Pershing counties, totaling nearly 2.5 inches!”
Pershing County is where Burning Man is located It is happening.
The reason rain affects an area like Black Rock City is its soil: desert clay can’t absorb water as quickly as loamy, or more fertile, soil.
“This water mixes with this mud and creates this muddy cement mixture that people inevitably get stuck in,” CNN weather anchor Derek Van Dam said.
That’s why, even as some four-wheel drive vehicles successfully left over the weekend, many others got stuck on muddy roads, making the delays worse for others trying to leave.
Festival organizers sent out updates every two hours throughout the weekend, and continued to urge attendees to stay put, stressing the need to keep routes clear and sharing the weather forecast. Finally, at 2 p.m. on Monday, “the driving ban was lifted,” they said job.
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