Wyoming Flooding Designated Major Disaster

By | July 25, 2011

President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in Wyoming because of spring and summer flooding, opening the way for the federal government to help the state pay for costs incurred from damaged roads, highways and other infrastructure.

The counties covered by the declaration are: Albany, Big Horn, Carbon, Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Johnson, Lincoln, Platte, Sheridan, Sublette, Teton, Uinta, Washakie and Weston.

The declaration also includes the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Seven people have died in Wyoming this spring and summer in waters running high from heavy rain and melting record snowpack.

The state’s response included deploying Wyoming National Guard members and low-risk prison inmates to help fight flooding by filling and placing sandbags and performing other duties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has estimated damage to public infrastructure at $4.2 million. That figure is expected to rise. Agriculture losses are being assessed separately, and any requests for aid go through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This was a record-breaking spring in terms of snowpack and flows in our rivers,” Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement Friday. “We averted a single major disaster, but cumulatively Mother Nature did inflict damage on public infrastructure. The efforts of our citizens, entire communities, the Wyoming National Guard and Office of Homeland Security deserve our applause. Without this effort the costs of this spring would have been much higher.”

Rivers and streams continue to run high throughout most of the state, although all major rivers were within their banks Friday afternoon.

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