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 and an email to press. The executive order was signed by Lt. Governor Kristen Juras as acting governor. MTN has learned that Gianforte is out of the country and gave Juras delegated authority to act on his behalf in response to flooding in the state. It is unclear at this time where the governor traveled to, or when he is expected to return.
I have declared a statewide disaster due to flooding to help impacted communities get back on their feet as soon as possible.— Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) June 14, 2022
“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 yesterday 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 their website.
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.
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.