Montana governor declares disaster following thunderstorms

June 15, 2021 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Greg Gianforte issued a disaster declaration Tuesday in five eastern Montana counties after a series of severe thunderstorms late last week led to extended power outages.

The declaration allows the state to request federal disaster relief.

Over 800 power poles and lines across east central Montana were damaged during thunderstorms on June 10, with hail reaching 3 inches in diameter (7.6 centimeters), recorded wind speeds of up to 90 miles per hour (145 kph), and gusts of up to 115 miles per hour (185 kph).

“Recent severe thunderstorms downed power poles and lines in Eastern Montana, leaving too many residents without power. I appreciate the robust efforts the region’s electric coops made to restore power to affected communities. Today’s disaster declaration is a first step to help residents and electric coops in the area recover,” Gianforte said in a statement. “The State of Montana is requesting federal disaster assistance on behalf of the impacted communities and the electric coops that serve them.”

The five affected counties are Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Richland, and Roosevelt.