MOBILE, Ala. – When the heavy rains and melting snow that hit Montana in June were happening, who would have thought that the impact of those floods could affect Mobile, Alabama.
In addition to the damage to houses, bridges, infrastructure, caused by the flooding, debris was left in several rivers throughout Montana.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform debris removal assessments throughout the state and that’s when Mobile District’s Emergency Management deployed a Planning and Response Team to assess the situation.
“Three Mobile PRT members traveled to Montana to see the extent of the damage,” said Dehyrl Middleton, Emergency Management specialist and PRT member. “Our job was to estimate the quantities and cost of debris in the waterways left from the floods in June.”
When a request comes in from FEMA, the request typically consists of performing assessments to a specific area, with the flooding in Montana, the request was out of the ordinary.
The Mobile PRT team was requested to assess approximately the entire state of Montana.
“Team did an excellent job,” Middleton said. “We traveled over 1,000 miles in eight days, visiting 70 potential debris sites within four counties in Montana.”
Ashley Leflore, Chief of the Emergency Management Branch, said that although this was an outside the box request from FEMA, she was proud of her team’s ability to step up and meet the challenge.
“I love the versatility of our Debris PRT members,” Leflore said. “This was not a typical mission for them, but they always adapt and deliver when FEMA asks for our assistance. I am proud of the work they do and it’s an honor to support them on these types of deployments. We look forward to their next assignment.”
As with most missions the team receives from FEMA, there is no guarantee of work or projects after the assessments have been made. Those answers are always left up to that locality or state to decide.
The team will now move on and wait for the next pressing mission and the eventual call from FEMA.
“As of now any missions coming out of Montana are unknown” Middleton said. “The trip was a great success. We will now most likely be transitioning down to Florida and the Hurricane Ian mission in November and December.”