With widespread flooding and more rain in the forecast, Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday declared a statewide disaster and has the support of Montana’s two U.S. senators.
Severe flooding in Carbon, Park and Stillwater counties prompted the governor’s declaration, along with flood warnings in other parts of the state, including Missoula and Flathead counties.
“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 statement.
Gianforte said the disaster declaration will help impacted communities recover as soon as possible. He said he has asked state agencies to avail their resources to support impacted communities.
Sen. Jon Tester said he’s in touch with officials at several federal agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Small Business Administration and the National Park Service, which closed all access to Yellowstone National Park on Monday.
“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,” Tester said. “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.”
Montana Disaster and Emergency Services is supporting local authorities in Carbon, Park and Stillwater counties. State officials are working with the FEMA on post-flood recovery as well, which could take time given the extent of damage caused by fast running water.
“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,” Sen. Steve Daines said in a statement.
Tester said the recently signed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes funding to repair and replace outdated infrastructure, including flood resilient protection.