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Freak Rainstorm Drenches Start Of Burning Man, Thousands Turned Away

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Cate-Cauguiran_BIO-HEAD Cate Cauguiran
Cate Cauguiran (pronounced Co-GEAR-an) is a reporter for CBS...
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RENO, Nev. (CBS SF) — Day one of Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert has turned into a bummer. A freak rainstorm has drenched the festival, forcing organizers to cancel events and lock out thousands of campers because of flooding and mud.

Gates to the festival won’t be opening until Tuesday, as organizers try to deal with a muddy mess. The Nevada Highway Patrol turned cars back.

“It becomes real sticky, slick. Your vehicles can’t get the traction they need to get going. It also causes damage out there to the playa, which they are trying to avoid as much as possible,” said Sgt. Bill Ferguson of the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Once Margo Daniels and her friends heard the news, they started to make the trip from San Francisco.

“We got in the RV as soon as we can and started driving to try and just get there and be ready whenever they open those doors,” Daniels said.

Ken Walker, who works at a RV park near the festival, is trying to keep up with demand.

“And we are actually double stacking everybody in every lane. Just trying to make everything full and everyone feel at home,” he said.

While many burners are stranded, they have options.

“The best thing really seen is the people posting online and the real true burner community spirit. The outpour of local people that are taking in burners,” Daniels said.

Casinos in Reno are also offering Burning Man deals on food, drinks, and rooms for as low as $50 a night.

Around 60,000 are expected to attend this year’s Burning Man, with tickets starting at $380.

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