Assessing The Damage

At least 11 homes lost, 80 damaged, 8 private bridges gone, count could rise
Thursday, June 23, 2022
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On the left, Governor Greg Gianforte talks with a Stillwater County resident who suffered substantial property damage during last week’s flooding. The governor took time for a conversation alone with the resident. Photo Courtesy of the Governor’s Office.

At least 11 homes in Stillwater County were lost to flooding last week and six remain in jeopardy, according to preliminary assessments completed by state and local authorities earlier this week.

Another 80 homes were damaged by floodwaters, while eight private bridges and at least two head gates were also lost. This does not include outbuildings and these numbers are expected to rise.

The county Road & Bridge Department and the Montana Department of Transportation continue to assess and prioritize repair of infrastructure on impacted roads, with some repairs already underway.

County officials revealed this week that pressure on state authorities to get the repair of the Rockin J bridge underway were successful — a critical repair as the bridge connects Nye to the rest of the county via the Nye Road. An alternative route on Grove Creek Road is being manned by two pilot cars for safety purposes and adds at least 20 minutes.

Both the Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers remain closed as live power lines are in the water. Also still closed are all campgrounds and fishing accesses in the county as well as Itch-Kep-Pe Park in Columbus.

The Stillwater County Emergency Services (SCES) group that is managing the flood event now lists areas of impact as the Stillwater River valley, Itch-Kep-Pe campground in Columbus, Reed Point, points along the Yellowstone River, Park City and community events.

The county Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) has requested a FEMA assessment recovery team, the Army Corps of Engineers assessment team and for state DES to be onsite to assist.

From Monday through Wednesday at 6 p.m., an attorney with emergency permitting experience was stationed at the courthouse in Columbus and made avail able to all flood victims in need, courtesy of the Sibanye-Stillwater mining company.

Updated road closures can be found on the Stillwater County website at www. stillwatercountymt.gov and on the News’s Facebook page.

TORRENTIAL RAIN

Weekend rain brought torrential downpours that pushed the Stillwater River at Absarokee to almost 10,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) during the weekend. By Tuesday morning, it was at 9,000 cubic CFS and Wednesday morning had fallen to 4,720 CFS, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Normal CFS on this day is normally 3,420. Early last week, it topped 20,000 CFS.

From Saturday, June 18, through noon on Tuesday, June 21, storms dumped 2.14 inches in the Columbus area, 2.11 inches in the Absarokee area, 1.39 inches in Molt, 1.21 inches in Park City and .55 inches in the Fishtail area, according to the National Weather Service.