Governor Greg Gianforte announced on Thursday afternoon that the state of Montana has received a major disaster declaration from the office of President Joe Biden after flooding has devastated major portions of southeastern Montana.

Gianforte thanked President Biden for responding so quickly to his request for the disaster declaration.

Emergency declarations supplement State and local government efforts in providing emergency services, such as the protection of lives, property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.

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Gianforte, along with local leaders and FEMA management Together, the team will conduct a thorough assessment of the impacted area to determine the extent of the disaster, its impact on individuals and public facilities and the types of federal assistance that may be needed.

This information is included in the Governor’s request to show that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments or Indian tribal government and that supplemental federal assistance is necessary.

The governor’s press release contained the following information:

‘The flooding has caused widespread damage to homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in the regions. As of Wednesday, the Montana Department of Transportation initially estimated damage to transportation infrastructure totaling $29 million. The acute damage to infrastructure, particularly in and around Yellowstone National Park, will impact communities that rely on tourism and recreation for livelihoods, jobs, and revenue. Park County benefits from more than $200 million annually in tourism, and Carbon County brings in $68 million annually from tourism.’

Today, there will be a press conference including Montana Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras, who will host FEMA administrator Deanne Creswell, along with members of the governor’s cabinet and Senator Steve Daines in Red Lodge, one of the communities most affected by the flood disaster.

KGVO is anticipating a call from Lt. Governor Juras following that press conference. Gianforte's office confirmed that he will be returning to Montana tonight.

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Widespread flooding wiped out roads, bridges, buildings, and powerlines throughout riverside communities from Yellowstone National Park and Paradise Valley to Red Lodge. The Yellowstone River winding through Billings crested Tuesday, June 14, 2022. At 11:30 a.m. the National Weather Service in Billings reported the river rose above flood stage and was forecasted to hit 14.7 feet, nearly hitting the 15-foot record set in 1997.

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