US: Montana declares state of natural disaster after historic flooding

CODY, Wyoming (Reuters) – Montana Governor Greg Gianforte declared a statewide state of disaster on Tuesday after days of record rainfall caused flooding, mudslides and unprecedented rockfall in the Yellowstone National Park area.

The record flooding and rockslides prompted park officials to close all five entrances to Yellowstone on Tuesday for the first time since catastrophic wildfires tore through the area in 1988.

Authorities were also working to evacuate visitors stranded in the park, which is expected to remain closed to the public until at least midweek.

No casualties were reported, but gripping video released by NBC News shows a riverside home washed away by torrential Yellowstone.

Rapidly melting snow and heavy rains caused “severe flooding, destroying homes, washing away roads and bridges, and leaving residents without electricity and running water,” Greg Gianforte said in a statement.

According to the US Weather Service, the waters of the Yellowstone River have exceeded record high flood levels measured more than a century ago by nearly a meter.

(Report Ruffin Prevost; French version Camille Raynaud)

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