Wyoming flood fighting efforts - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Wyoming flood fighting efforts

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WORLAND, Wyo. -

Residents in Worland, Wyo. have shown up in full force to assist with flood fighting efforts. Over the weekend approximately 500 volunteers dedicated their time and strength to help with filling sandbags.

More than 100 homes were evacuated and the American Red Cross is conducting damage assessments on affected homes to determine the extent of damages. Some residents are being allowed to return to their homes to retrieve personal belongings.

Personnel from the Army Corps of Engineers arrived Sunday and are working with Wyoming Homeland Security personnel to provide technical assistance. Approximately 70 National Guard personnel continue the sandbagging efforts in Worland.

A crew of 12 Department of Corrections/Forestry Division Smoke Busters and two Homeland Security personnel are relocating from Hudson, in Fremont County, to Greybull and Manderson, in Big Horn County, to prepare in the event of ice jams or rising waters.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has been providing resource assistance to the flood fighting efforts and has contributed greatly to the effort. The Wyoming Chapter of the American Red Cross has provided sheltering and mass care needs to the affected areas.

Gov. Matt Mead issued an Executive Order Friday, Feb. 10, declaring a state of emergency in response to severe weather and flood conditions across Wyoming. Health and safety are paramount considerations. The Order directs the Office of Homeland Security and the Wyoming National Guard to take appropriate action.

FROM WYDOT

Three WYDOT trucks and their drivers were busy all day Sunday resupplying sand to sand-bagging locations near the Big Horn River, and concrete barrier was hauled to Worland. In all, 56 sections of concrete barrier have been hauled to Worland in the sand-bagging effort.

On Monday morning, two WYDOT trucks with trailers helped move pallets of sand bags to the different areas in Worland, and near Manderson and Greybull.

As of Monday morning, the Big Horn River had dropped about 1.5 feet as the weather cooled over the weekend and limited snow melt. A river ice dam remains just north of Worland in the Big Horn River. More than 700 volunteers are working, and the volunteers have filled 52,000 sand bags for use in the effort to prevent additional flooding.

“We still have ice stuck against some bridges,” said WYDOT District Engineer Pete Hallsten of Basin. “WYDOT will be inspecting all bridges where flooding occurred. Workers are continuing to check bridges and culverts to make sure they are functioning properly and are safe.”

Forecasters with The National Weather Service are predicting continued flooding of the Big Horn River through early Tuesday as the result of river ice jams between Worland and Greybull, said Chris Jones, NWS meteorologist in charge in Riverton.

“Generally dry conditions are being forecast until Thursday, Jones said. “Warming temperatures after Wednesday could cause further flooding/ice jam issues in these areas into this upcoming weekend.”

Two storm systems are forecast to affect western Wyoming west of the Continental Divide with two snow events forecast this Thursday and Friday and then again Saturday through Monday. The first system is forecast to bring mainly light precipitation, with more moderate snow amounts possible through the weekend in western areas of Wyoming.

The flooding also impacted the Little Popo Agie River near WYO 789, the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway (WYO 296) and Owl Creek near WYO 170 northeast of Thermopolis.

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