The final weekend of Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert appears to be a washout with torrential rains turning the area into a massive mud bath.
The weather became so bad on Friday night that all traffic into and out of the site was halted while all bike and buggy riding around the massive campsite was banned.
Organizers were forced to ban people from leaving the site as the slippery and muddy conditions created treacherous driving conditions.
‘Do not drive your vehicle. Do not ride your bike, do not push your bike around. Remain where you are. Secure structures and belongings in your camp,’ urged one message to Twitter.
‘All scheduled burns for tonight (Friday 9/1) are postponed until further notice. Hunker down, don’t drive, don’t bike, be safe! Shelter in place!’ added another.
The gate remains closed and no one is allowed to enter or leave via the road or airport, Burning Man posted online.
Police and rangers take to higher ground as Burning Man brought to a halt during an unprecedented downpour on Friday, in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada
The Black Rock Desert is experiencing unprecedented downpour during Burning Man 2023
Strongly worded tweets on Friday night urged Burning Man attendees to hunker down
Organizers even asked people to stop pushing or riding bikes around due to fears the tires might cause deep ruts after the ground was softened by the rainfall.
Burning Man organizers instructed those attending to shelter in place, not operate generators or other electrically powered instruments that are standing in water and cover anything electrical.
‘In the case of rain, do not drive your vehicle or ride your bike. Remain where you are. Batten down your camp. Cover or secure anything electrical. Check on your campmates and neighbors to make sure they’re prepared, and help out as needed,’ stated another message as the weather turned nasty.
Driving was not permitted in Black Rock City with the atrocious weather threatening to turn the desert floor into a muddy paste.
About one- to two-tenths of an inch of rain is expected which although may not seem like much, even a small amount of rain can cause problems in the Black Rock Desert which is usually bone dry.
The rain made the ground extremely slippery, with sticky mud clinging to bike tires and shoe treads forcing attendees to shuffle around.
‘It’s just very slippery. And you can’t drive and it’s hard to maneuver through there and stuff like that. [The ground] just turns to like a paste, basically. So yeah, certainly not ideal,’ meteorologist Scott McGuire told SFGate.
Friday and Sunday are expected to be the wettest days of the festival and while the rain will make the playa unpleasant, flash flooding is not expected.
A status update on travel within Black Rock City is expected by 10am on Saturday.
Temperatures are also expected to be far cooler than last year with weekend highs expected to be in the 70s – far lower than the triple digit temperatures endured during last year’s gathering.
A bright and colorful rainbow is seen standing out against the grey skies in the Nevada desert
A double rainbow was seen shortly after Friday evening’s downpours
The event was put under a mandatory ‘stay in place order’ and no one was allowed to enter of leave the event
Some cars were seen stuck in the mud with the desert appearing to be more like a lagoon
Traffic cones are seen reflected in the water that lays across the sandy flats of the desert
In nearby Gerlach, Nevada, hundreds of Burning Man attendees are currently stranded for the night
Driving is not permitted in Black Rock City as weather threatens to turn the desert floor into paste
The weather complicated matters as crowds began to arrive at the festival for the final weekend
Friday and Sunday are expected to be the wettest days of the festival
With little chance for absorption, conditions could deteriorate throughout the weekend
Burning Man officials are urging caution no matter how much rain ends up falling
Heavy rains across the Black Rock Desert where Burning Man is being held have forced organizers to ban people from leaving the site as widespread muddy conditions created treacherous driving conditions
.The roads are so bad walking is virtually impossible, and organizers have asked everyone to ‘hunker down’ and stay in their camps
The event – a ‘rejection of corporatism and capitalism’ – has brought some 70,000 people to the Nevada desert for a series of hedonistic pursuits.
But the weather has not been on the side of attendees as torrential rainfall flooded the area last weekend and caused major delays for those looking to enter.
Thousands have packed into Black Rock City – located in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert – for the iconic event which has been around for nearly 40 years.
The event has become a beacon for Burners – the name for frequent residents of Black Rock City – who wait all year for the festivities.
Despite its reputation, Burning Man organizers define the event not as a festival but as a ‘community and global cultural movement.’
While the Black Rock Desert rarely gets this much rain at once, the last time it did Burning Man organizers were forced to shut the gate for several days
Burning Man organizers are telling burners to shelter in place, not operate generators or other electrically powered instruments that are standing in water and cover anything electrical
A status update on travel within Black Rock City is expected by 10am on Saturday morning
The National Weather Service report for the Black Rock region shows showers continuing intermittently through Sunday night then clearing by Monday
Stranded Burning Man attendees patronize the two local bars in Gerlach, Nevada
Some folks can be seen with their luggage inside the bar because organizers were not allowing anyone to enter or leave the site