Wyoming Counties Getting State Help to Prepare for Flooding
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed an executive order Friday directing the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security and the Wyoming National Guard to deploy small teams to help counties prepare for possible flooding. A release from the Governor's Office says the order came after careful analysis of snowpack levels (which are over 200% of statewide average), weather forecasts, moisture content in the ground, river levels and future runoff. The weather forecast calls for temperatures to rise midweek and that means the snowpack could start to melt.
Albany County has already prepared for flooding along the Laramie River System as much as they can before there is a disaster declaration, meaning all of the county's resources are exhausted. The Laramie River has peaked between June 8th and 14th the last four years according to Emergency Management Grants Coordinator Chuck Murrieta.
The federal government generally requires an emergency and then provides an after-the-fact response, in this case Wyoming has the ability to be proactive and considering all the available information I believe the State should move ahead to do our best to protect property. It is what a rancher, small business owner or any homeowner would do.
Five teams will deploy next week according to Governor Mead. They will be made up of 23 National Guard troops and will go to the counties with the highest risk potential. The Adjutant General, Major General Luke Reiner, said the teams will assist local efforts in emergency preparation and sandbagging. He added that by working side-by-side with local emergency managers, he hopes they can better lessen the impact flood waters could have.
Guy Cameron, Director of the Department of Homeland Security, says this is basically part of what they always do, "prepare for the worst and hope for the best."
In addition to Homeland Security and the National Guard, Governor Mead says several other agencies are preparing to lend assistance, including the Department of Health and WYDOT.