Massive Flood Engulfs Burning Man Festival

The Burning Man Festival is a week-long festival that is held annually in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It normally focuses on the themes of community, art and self-reliance. There are typically around 80,000 performers and tourists.
However, this year was different. A massive late summer storm dropped 0.8 inches of rain on the festival creating a foot of mud for the partygoers. For multiple days, tens of thousands of people were stranded in the middle of the desert with no working toilets or running water. One person passed away due to alcohol poisoning because he could not get medical help fast enough due to the weather conditions.
Rebecca Rea, a Pasadena resident working towards her Ph.D attended Burning Man, her second year in a row. She said she enjoys the art, the people and the opportunity to be outside of her comfort zone. However, she said while she was prepared for the possibility of rain, the amount that came down was more than anyone anticipated. Since the weather reports from earlier in the week predicted that there would simply be a small drizzle, the attendees were completely taken by surprise. “Once you hit the site, your cell service is gone, so you operate off of weather reports from earlier in the week,” Rea said. “I expected maybe one day of being locked down, not three!”
Once the rain started, it became almost impossible for people to leave. However, eventually, on Sept. 5, the festival goers were able to begin evacuating from the site of the festival. Rea said, “I left two days later in the regular exodus line. It was non-eventful and totally fine.” However, some people weren’t so lucky. “The folks who got stuck in the mud were the ones who didn’t listen to the organizers and thought their prius could manage prehistoric shrimp mud,” Rea recalled.
However, Rea said that she won’t let one bad experience keep her from enjoying herself in the future. She says that even if she had known what happened, she would not have let that deter her. “Next time I go, I will be in an RV or trailer,” she said. “Tent camping is a little too prone to get borked by the elements out there!”