LIVINGSTON - Park County officials say extensive flooding throughout the county has washed out bridges, roads, and left communities and homes isolated. It has also made drinking water unsafe in many areas.
A Type III organization has been formed to manage the problems involved. Personnel from agencies across the region and state are assisting local resources with the response.
The Yellowstone River near Livingston and in the Paradise Valley crested last night around 11 PM and has since receded 5 to 6 feet. The water recession is expected to continue through Thursday. Precipitation is expected on Tuesday, with scattered showers in the lower elevations and possible snow in the higher elevations. Officials say this may result in a resurgence of water flow but is not expected to reach former levels.
There are evacuations and rescues going on throughout the county, including two airlifts (up the Boulder and near Cooke City-Silver Gate) and several swift-water rescues. Two Bear Air and the National Guard have been assisting with the air rescues. Park County Search and Rescue is assisting with the swift water rescue. Additional water rescue personnel have been imported to deal with potential needs.
Residents should be advised that displaced wildlife may be passing through properties. Several bears have been spotted, along with deer and some domestic livestock.
Roads and bridges:
- Highway 89 is closed past mile 52. Areas in the Tom Miner are still under water.
- The 9th Street island in Livingston is inaccessible
- Railroad tracks have numerous instances of water over the tracks. Rail traffic has been impacted, and in some cases shut down.
- Veterans Bridge, on Livingston’s east side, is inaccessible
- The majority of bridges crossing the Yellowstone River in the Paradise Valley are not safe for use. Exceptions are Pine Creek, Murphy Lane and Mill Creek, but they are available for emergency traffic only.
- The Paradise Valley can be accessed through the Trail Creek Road. This is for emergency and essential traffic only.
- All entrances to Yellowstone National Park are closed. No traffic.
- Livingston’s Hospital remains evacuated and closed. No access. CHP in Livingston is open as usual.
As waters recede, more roads will be assessed. Bridges will be assessed as to whether they are structurally sound. Attempts are currently ongoing to establish one-way traffic in the Valley. As yet, there is still no access. Attempts to establish drop points for supply drops in the Valley and in Gardiner and Cooke City are ongoing. We will advise as to when and where these will be in effect.
Gardiner isolated, with Do Not Drink order
Gardiner is currently isolated and surrounded by water. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Do Not Drink order for water in the area after a water main has broken in the area. Water should not be consumed, but is safe for washing hands and showering.
U.S. Highway 89 South in Yankee Jim Canyon has water on the road. It may have sustained damage. The road between Gardiner and Mammoth has washed out in several places.
Cooke City, Silver Gate isolated
Cooke City and Silver Gate are currently isolated and surrounded by water. The communities are isolated from each other.
Many wells in the area and throughout Park County have been submerged or compromised.
The Park County Health Department encourages anyone with questions to contact them at 406- 222-4131.
If you have a well, and it is submerged by flood water or the water appears to be compromised, the water may not be safe to consume. This is especially true for people who are immunocompromised or an infant.
Paradise Valley: Stay put, if you're safe
The Park County Sheriff's Office is encouraging essential-only traffic south of mile marker 52.5 on U.S. Highway 89 South. There is water on the road south of this mile marker. Travel is extremely limited and unsafe in many locations. Many bridges and roads are no longer operational. Many people are landlocked, including the communities of Gardiner, Cooke City, Silver Gate, the Cinnabar Basin, Tom Miner Basin, stretches of U.S. Highway 89 South, Mill Creek, and Old Yellowstone Trail.
Murphy Lane Bridge and Pine Creek Bridge are the only two operational bridges in Paradise Valley, but are available for emergency traffic only.
If you're attempting to get to safety, Trail Creek Road is open for local and emergency traffic only to Interstate 90. This is for emergency and essential traffic only.
Livingston evacuation, pre-evacuation orders
An evacuation of Ninth Street Island has been completed. Some residents chose to stay, but the island experienced severe flooding. Several structures have been lost. Two rescues were completed last night. Evacuations of streets E through O, from Lewis Street south, were implemented last night, but those, residents are being allowed to return to their homes with exception of the Ninth Street Island.