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Flooding prompts statewide disaster declaration for Montana

stillwater des.jpg
Posted at 10:18 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 18:36:11-04

HELENA — The Gianforte Administration has declared a statewide disaster due to destructive flooding in southern Montana.

The announcement came from Gov. Greg Gianforte's social media Tuesday morning. However, the executive order was signed by Lt. Governor Kristen Juras as acting governor. MTN has reached out to the state as to why Juras is serving as acting governor, but requests to the Governor's Office were not immediately returned. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

“With rapid snowmelt and recent heavy rains, communities in south-central Montana are experiencing severe flooding that is destroying homes, washing away roads and bridges, and leaving Montanans without power and water services,” Gianforte said in a release. “Today’s disaster declaration will help impacted communities get back on their feet as soon as possible, and I have asked state agencies to bring their resources to bear in support of these communities.”

The order specifically suspends some regulations for people operating commercial vehicles when responding to, or providing emergency relief.

Gianforte also stated the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services continues to support local authorities in Carbon, Park, and Stillwater counties, as well as work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on next steps.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Monday closed the Yellowstone River in Park County to all recreational use due to public safety risks.\

US Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) released the following statement in reaction to the flooding:

“I am closely monitoring the severe flooding happening in Montana, and I encourage every Montanan to stay safe by following local precautions and avoiding flooded areas. I’m in touch with local, state and federal officials to make sure that folks on the ground are getting the help they need as swiftly as possible, and I appreciate the work of our first responders in keeping folks safe.”

U.S Sent. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) also weighed in Tuesday on the historic flooding:

“I fully support Governor Gianforte’s statewide disaster declaration to help impacted communities get back on their feet as quickly as possible, and I stand ready to facilitate recovery efforts at the federal level."

US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) issued the following statement regarding the Yellowstone River flooding in southwestern Montana:

“This morning, I spoke to Governor Gianforte and local officials in Stillwater, Park, and Carbon counties to get an update on the affects the Yellowstone River flooding is having on the communities in southwestern Montana. I wholeheartedly support Governor Gianforte’s decision to declare a statewide disaster, and I am grateful for his efforts to keep the flood damage to a minimum. I will continue to monitor the situation closely and do all that I can to ensure Montana receives the resources it needs in a timely manner.”

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Monday closed the Yellowstone River in Park County to all recreational use due to public safety risks.

The Montana Department of Transportation is regularly updating road conditions on its website.

Aerial view of flooding in Paradise Valley

The historic flooding in the Yellowstone watershed has already destroyed homes, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Yellowstone National Park has closed all entrances to visitors and evacuated the northside of the park. The road into Gardiner has seen significant destruction from the flooded Yellowstone River.

Emergency crews from across southern Montana worked to evacuate stranded residents, campers and workers in recent days.

Floodwaters hit region

Flood waters continued to rise in many communities. Red Lodge and Livingston saw evacuations, with Livingston Healthcare needing to evacuate patients.

MTN is helping collect donations to aid those impacted by the flooding. All donations made at the MTN Flood Relief event will stay within our local communities by going directly to Family Service. Family Service will partner with other local and national organizations to ensure people are taken care of.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more information about the executive order.