GREAT FALLS — Gov. Greg Gianforte issued an executive order Tuesday declaring a statewide disaster in response to flooding in northeast, western, and south central Montana.
“Runoff from recent rainfall and snowmelt has compromised critical infrastructure and roads in Montana,” Gianforte said in a news release. “This order will help impacted communities rebuild and get back on their feet.”
Beginning on April 10, a combination of rainfall and high temperatures causing snowmelt led to major flooding along the Milk River and its tributaries in northeast Montana.
Western and south central Montana also saw between 1-4 inches of rainfall, as well as rapid snowmelt with warm weather in the first two weeks of April.
Meagher, Valley, Hill, Liberty, Blaine, Daniels, and Park Counties, the Fort Belknap Indian Community, the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, and the towns of Glasgow and Nashua enacted emergency or disaster declarations in response to the conditions, with several of them reporting extensive damage to infrastructure.
Here is the full text of the declaration:
WHEREAS, beginning on April 10, 2023, moderate to major flooding occurred along the Milk River and its tributaries in Northeast Montana as the snow began to melt on frozen ground leading to near 100% runoff into area waterways; and
WHEREAS, rainfall of 1-4" across Western and South Central Montana caused rivers, streams, and tributaries to rise out of their banks, as well as rapid snowmelt at mid-level and high elevations; and
WHEREAS, while temperatures in March were well below normal statewide, a rapid warmup occurred in the first two weeks of April, with widespread highs near 80 degrees occurring, representing near record highs for that period of time in many parts of the state; and
WHEREAS, Meagher, Valley, Hill, Liberty, Blaine, Daniels, and Park Counties, the Fort Belknap Indian Community, the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, and the towns of
Glasgow and Nashua have enacted emergency or disaster declarations, and activated applicable portions of jurisdictional emergency plans and programs; and
WHEREAS, several counties, cities, towns, have reported emergency costs and extensive damage to critical infrastructure to include roads, bridges, and culverts; and
WHEREAS, the State Emergency Coordination Center is at a level-four activation, and is coordinating with local, state and federal agencies; and
WHEREAS, the availability and utilization of all necessary State government services, equipment, and suppliers under this proclamation will further the efforts to protect health and safety and to preserve the lives, property, and resources of the people of the State of Montana; and
WHEREAS, a proclamation of disaster authorizes the Governor under Section 10-3-311, MCA, to expend funds from the general fund to meet contingencies and needs
arising from these conditions
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GREG GIANFORTE, Governor of the State of Montana, pursuant to the authority vested in me under the Constitution, and the laws of the State of Montana, Title 10, Chapter 3, MCA, and other applicable statutes, do hereby declare under§ 10-3-103 and§ 10-3-303, MCA, that a flooding disaster exists in the State of Montana.