Freak Rain Douses Burning Man

Attendees forced to camp in parking lots of Walmart, casino til today
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2014 6:20 AM CDT
Freak Rain Douses Burning Man
Artists and volunteers work on the "Man" at the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert of Gerlach, Nev., on Aug. 24, 2014, a day before the event opens to ticket holders.   (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron)

It might be tough to become one with nature in a Walmart parking lot, but Burning Man participants don't have a lot of choice after a rare rainstorm saturated the Black Rock Desert and left it filled with standing water, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. Would-be attendees were turned away from Black Rock City by local authorities yesterday, but roads were set to reopen at 6am local time today, according to the Burning Man Facebook page and Twitter feed. A National Weather Service meteorologist said drier, clearer skies are forecast for the Reno area today.

A Gazette-Journal reporter who arrived at the scene yesterday before the rain says thunderstorms didn’t let up for several hours, turning the playa sands into a pit of what a Nevada highway trooper calls "mucky mud." In true Burning Man spirit, rejected "Burners" simply redirected their RVs and vans to camp in front of a local Walmart, as well as at a Reno casino and on the beach at nearby Pyramid Lake, notes the AP. "You take it as it comes," one Walmart camper said. "I guess that's part of being a Burning Man." A tourist from London was in even better spirits. “We're going to make good of a bad situation—I hear Pyramid Lake is beautiful, and apparently there is going to be a big party there and potentially a massive orgy," he informed the Gazette-Journal. (More Burning Man stories.)

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