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Homeland Security

4,300 Guard members responding to U.S. floods

June 1, 2011

By Sgt. Darron Salzer

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, June 1, 2011) -- The number of National Guard members responding to severe spring flooding rose to about 4,300 over the weekend as parts of the Missouri River began to swell in states such as North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Other states such as Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming are also seeing flooding as flood operations in Kentucky come to a close.

As of 5 p.m., May 31, about 2,000 North Dakota Guard members were on state active duty in response to rising waters in Burleigh, Morton and Ward Counties as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened dams up-river that are over-saturated with heavy rainwater and snowmelt.

Snowmelt is predicted to cause flooding in Wyoming, where about 115 Guard members are performing sandbagging operations ahead of the floods as the state continues to see a warm-up trend.

The Wyoming Guard has opened its State Operations Center and is working with civil authorities to stay ahead of the waters, said a Guard official.

Montana also saw larger-than-usual snow pack in the mountains this winter, and heavy rains combined with the snowmelt have caused flooding in that state as well. About 97 Guard members there are performing security operations at the time of this report, said a Montana Guard official.

Heavy rains have also contributed to rising waters in Vermont, where about 93 Guard members have been evacuating residents from around local lakebed areas.

Officials there said rains have been consistent almost every day for about a month now.

In Louisiana and Mississippi, Guard members continue their battle against the Mississippi River's floodwaters after severe storms swelled the river earlier this year.

Operations in both states, including transportation support, levee patrol and inspection, search and rescue missions, and levee security missions, are scheduled to continue.

(Sgt. Darron Salzer writes for National Guard Bureau)

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