Though it’s Saturday at Nevada’s desert-based Burning Man event “Dawn brought a growing realization for attendees that they might not be going home as planned, given rain forecast for later Saturday into Sunday…” reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. “More than 73,000 Burning Man attendees remain confined to their camps Saturday and are blocked from leaving the event after a slow-moving rainstorm turned their desert playground into a soupy, muddy morass.”

Burning Man has now closed both its entrance and exits gates. “Organizers warned attendees to conserve their food and water, indicating the closures could be lengthy.”

There was no estimated time for reopening, and thousands of attendees are facing the potential of missing flights, failing to return rental cars or failing to return to work Tuesday. The event is set to officially end Monday but many people begin leaving Saturday night or Sunday…

The closures and order to remain in shelter come as the event was supposed reach its zenith on Saturday night with the burning of the giant wooden Man effigy towering over the temporary city. All vehicle traffic within the encampment has been halted, including servicing for the thousands of portable toilets that make the event possible. Organizers have also begun rationing ice sales… Given the conditions, which include forecast rain Sunday, it appears unlikely anyone will be permitted to drive out soon. Burning Man officials have not provided a comprehensive update on conditions, departure timing or even the multiple art burns scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Longtime attendees said they can’t remember a burn with this much rain…

Organizers banned vehicle traffic from the roads Friday afternoon and kept the exit gates closed as of 5 a.m. Saturday.

“Many attendees appeared to remain in good spirits, playing beer pong in the muddy streets or splashing in the standing water. Techno continued echoing around the encampment, and spontaneous dance parties kept breaking out.”

“Walking was almost impossible Saturday morning, but started to improve as the ground began to dry. Then it began raining again.”

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