Montana Governor: Flooding Emergency in 15 Counties, 2 Reservations

June 7, 2013

Gov. Steve Bullock has declared an emergency in 15 counties and two reservations due to widespread flooding in northern and central Montana.

Bullock signed an executive order on Wednesday that allows state resources to be used to respond to the flooding damage.

The flooding is the result of recent rainfall that is more than some areas see in an average year. The rain caused waterways and reservoirs to overflow, damaging roads and government infrastructure, and flooding the basements of homes, the governor’s declaration said.

The Department of Military Affairs and Disaster and Emergency Services officials are coordinating with local agencies, Bullock’s office said.

Spokesman Kevin O’Brien said preliminary damage estimates were unavailable, and there were no immediate plans to request federal assistance. More information would be available Thursday, he said.

Some communities are still recovering from flooding disasters in 2010 and 2011, including the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.

The Chippewa Cree tribe declared a flooding disaster on the reservation Monday after six roads were washed out and dozens of homeowners reported flooded basements and interior damage from leaking roofs.

The tribe estimates flooding has caused between $1 million and $2 million in damages.

Tribal officials said an undetermined number of residents were displaced because of damage or because damaged roadways left them without access.

Six additional homes were without water after a line break along Boxelder Creek. Water Resources Division head Jay Eagleman said tribal officials were devising a strategy to reroute drinking water to those homes.

Rocky Boy’s and the Fort Belknap reservation are included in Bullock’s declaration. The counties covered by the declaration are Blaine, Chouteau, Custer, Dawson, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Rosebud and Valley.

The weather has cleared, though scattered storms are expected later in the week.

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