Montana National Guard rescues 87 people stranded by flooding in Montana
The Montana Army National Guard announced Wednesday that it has rescued 87 people stranded by floods in the state this week.
The area near Yellowstone National Park has experienced extreme flooding over the past few days, with National Park Service officials saying Tuesday that the flooding could constitute a “thousand-year event.” Flooding near Highway 89 cut off access to the town of Gardner earlier in the week, temporarily stranding residents of the town as well as park visitors.
“Since June 13, Montana Army National Guard helicopter crews have rescued 87 people and flown more than 41 hours in support of search and rescue operations,” the group said in a statement.
The National Guard branch added that crews are continuing to assist with search and rescue operations in South Central Montana and that 16 National Guard members were activated Wednesday to work several road checkpoints to help travelers.
The flooding has destroyed at least one bridge, wiped out roads and set off mudslides in the area around Yellowstone. Officials closed all five entrances and started evacuating visitors out of the northern part of the park on Monday.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) declared a statewide disaster due to the situation for Carbon, Park and Stillwater counties on Tuesday, saying that rapid snowmelt and heavy rain in the area is “destroying homes, washing away roads and bridges and leaving Montanans without power and water services.”
As of Wednesday, Yellowstone National Park is closed through the rest of the week and may reopen on Monday.