Friday, June 22, 2018

140 campers rescued, floating bears as Montana and Texas flood

Helicopters rescued people stranded by flooding in Texas and Montana, including 140 children and counselors stuck in a mountain bible camp for two days, as severe storms swept the Rockies and the Midwest. Campers attending the Montana Wilderness School of the Bible near the small town of Augusta were lifted out Thursday after a washed-out road cut off the only exit. Montana was just drying out from spring flooding caused by near-record snowfall over the winter when a storm unleashed rain over the past three days. They had enough food and supplies to stay until Friday but the decision was made to get them out. The Montana Army National Guard flew in two Chinook helicopters and made two trips each with about 30 campers and their luggage, Steele said. In Montana, the remnants of Hurricane Bud met up with moisture from the Pacific Ocean to create a storm that hung over the western half of the state for the last three days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Megan Syner in Great Falls. That led to 9 inches of rain falling on the Rocky Mountain Front, causing waterways to overflow and wash out roads, bridges and even sweeping away wildlife. The mother of one of the campers, Teresa Lane, had an adventure of her own when she and her 9-year-old daughter spotted a grizzly bear that had been swept away by a fast-running creek on her ranch near Augusta. "I thought it was a dead cow originally — it was something big and black and floating," Lane said. "Then it flipped around, and it looked at me, and I said, 'Tiffany, it's a bear!'" She and her daughter followed the bear for about a quarter-mile as it tried to get out. When it finally did, it limped and appeared agitated before running away...MORE

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