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Burning Man festival-goers told to shelter in place after rain brings mud

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Tens of thousands of people at the Burning Man Festival in northwestern Nevada are being told to conserve food, water and fuel and to shelter in place after heavy rain overnight turned the desert to mud.

Organizers said that due to the rain, the gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City remained closed as of 9 a.m. Saturday.

“Ingress and egress are halted. No driving is permitted until the playa surface dries up, with the exception of emergency vehicles,” organizers said in an emailed statement. “Participants are encouraged to conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space.”

The Reno Gazette Journal reported that more than 73,000 people are currently at the festival.

Places adjacent to the festival received up to a half-inch of rain between Friday and Saturday mornings, with most of the rain falling in the afternoon, according to Mark Deutschendorf, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Reno.

Although less rain is expected on Saturday, with only scattered showers, “the rain’s not over,” Deutschendorf said.

“We have a higher chance of another round of steady rain later tonight into Sunday morning and that could bring another tenth to a third of an inch, possibly even up to half an inch if it persists,” he said.

The rain should be out of the area by Sunday evening, he added.

The weather at this year’s festival is in stark contrast to last year, when temperatures were in the triple digits, reaching 105. Temperatures were forecast to be in the low 70s on Saturday and possibly not even out of the 60s on Sunday.

“We’re going the other direction, a cooler and wetter Burning Man weekend,” Deutschendorf said. “If anyone goes, they have to prepare for either extreme.”

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