A powerful storm cell hit Black Rock City about 10:45 on Tuesday night, causing staff to put into effect a Level 0 rain contingency plan, which meant that all driving was halted, and people were told to seek shelter.
Lightning had been striking all around the city for most of the night, but when the storm hit, a whiteout wiped out any view of the skies.
Consistent weather forecasts in the previous days calling for rain and thunderstorms had put Burning Man staff on notice, and supplies of water were monitored, and light towers were set up around the city as the storm cell approached.
Even though there had been lighting for hours, the rain came with a sudden fury. Playa dust turns almost instantly to impassable mud, and even walking becomes difficult as mud builds up inches deep on shoe bottoms.
There were no immediate reports of any significant damage as a result of the high winds and driving rain. Radio communications were maintained, and power was continuing to flow throughout the city.
The initial rain only lasted for 20 or 30 minutes, and it was hoped that the high winds might help conditions dry quickly.