Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has called on Biden to declare a major disaster in his state
Shocking videos of the flooding and destruction in Yellowstone National Park made the rounds on social media as Montana Governor Greg Gianforte urged President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster in his state.
The Republican governor asked the Democratic president to invite the FBI to investigate and hopefully mitigate some of the problems the state is facing after what park officials have described as “once in a thousand years” happened. Gianforte wrote, “I respectfully request that the state of Montana be declared a major disaster as a result of the spring flooding that began on June 10, 2022.”
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Gianforte explained in his letter that a number of factors contributed to the floods, including winter snow, or “snow cover,” which is melting faster than usual, causing water levels to overflow. The governor added that the snow had been held in place longer than usual due to below-average temperatures in April and May. This meant that it has now melted faster than usual, flooding the area with rushing water.
The infrequent flooding has displaced more than 10,000 visitors from the park and damaged scores of homes in nearby communities. Thankfully, no one was reported injured or killed at the time of publication. Some campers left behind in the massive park were seen in shocking videos evacuating the park by making their way out of the backcountry.
However, Montana has also asked Washington, DC, for assistance from the EPA to test the quality of public water, particularly after officials warned Tuesday that local drinking water had become unsafe. State authorities have also asked the Power Department to restore power to affected communities, the Army Corps of Engineers to help fight flooding, and the Transportation Department to evaluate federal highways.
The state noted that $29 million was created for transportation infrastructure while affected areas typically generate hundreds of millions in tourism revenue. The letter, written by Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras, includes requests for health and social services as well as a geological survey.
Park officials have predicted that Yellowstone — the oldest national park in the US — will remain closed for the rest of the year due to widespread flood damage. They characterized the Flood as a one-off event within a “millennial event” that could permanently change the course of the Yellowstone River and its surrounding landscapes. The volume of the river flows at a rate of 20,000 cubic feet per second, which is faster than the previous record measured in the 1990s.
At least 10,000 tourists were evacuated from the park, including a dozen campers who were flown out in rescue helicopters. The authorities closed all entrances to the park on Tuesday. They predicted that some southern roads could open in a week, but northern roads will remain closed through the fall.
Meanwhile, hundreds of homes have been submerged or swept away by raging currents, roads have been cut away and several bridges have collapsed in the torrent, the Daily Mail reported.