CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead signed an Executive Order today directing the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security and Wyoming National Guard to deploy small teams to help counties prepare for possible flooding.
The order comes after careful analysis of snowpack levels, weather forecasts, moisture content in the ground, river levels and future runoff.
“This is a continuation of our efforts this spring to be out in front of possible flooding,” Governor Mead said. “Unfortunately the mountains are still full of snow and if certain conditions come together some of our communities could be significantly impacted.”
As for why he's issuing the order now instead of later, you might say it's to follow the adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Governor Mead added that "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.”
There will be five teams that will deploy early next week. The teams are made up of 23 National Guard troops and they will go to counties with the highest potential risk.
The Adjutant General, Major General Luke Reiner, said the teams will assist local efforts in emergency preparation and sandbagging. "We look forward to assisting the residents of Wyoming and proactively working to minimize the effects of potential flooding by working side-by-side with our local emergency managers to lessen the impact flood waters could have on Wyoming," Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner said.
“I deeply appreciate the contribution these Guard members are making,” Governor Mead said. “They will take time away from their families and jobs to protect our State. I thank them and their families for this commitment to Wyoming.”
The Director of the Department of Homeland Security, Guy Cameron, said, “We always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Right now there could be some big increases in runoff, especially in the communities above Wyoming’s dams.”
The weather forecast calls for temperatures to rise midweek and that means the snowpack could start to melt. The snowpack is over 200% of the statewide average.
In addition to Homeland Security and the National Guard, several other agencies are preparing to lend assistance, including the Department of Health and WYDOT.