- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Water and electricity have been restored to most of the eastern Wyoming town of Lusk after a flash flood wiped out a bridge and damaged homes and businesses.

City water in Lusk began flowing Thursday evening after crews restored the power to water well pumps, City Clerk Linda Frye said Friday. The services went out when the flood swept through before dawn Thursday.

The National Guard and various state agencies responded to help the town of 1,500 people. A Federal Emergency Management Agency team arrived in Wyoming on Friday afternoon, Wyoming Office of Homeland Security spokeswoman Kelly Ruiz said.

Also on Friday, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead declared a state of emergency in response to flooding in Lusk and elsewhere in the state. Mead’s emergency order on Friday directs the Office of Homeland Security and the Wyoming Army National Guard to mobilize their resources to help citizens in affected areas.

“I am very concerned about the weather-related damage across Wyoming and the toll it is taking on our citizens and communities,” Mead said.

“Mudslides have closed some roads in Sunlight Basin near Cody, Wind River Canyon and Togwotee Pass, and flooding has caused damage in Niobrara, Johnson and other counties,” Mead said. “We are doing all we can to be at the ready to help city and county authorities.”

Mead had visited Lusk on Thursday to view the damage there. He also met with local and state emergency officials and answered questions from citizens at a town hall meeting.

Forty-five people stayed at a Red Cross shelter overnight at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds, spokesman Bill Fortune said Friday.

The organization said 29 homes were destroyed in Lusk and Niobrara County, and 15 to 20 businesses were damaged.

Major highways in and out of the area remained closed Friday as engineers assessed damaged roads and bridges. The State Highway Department was considering whether to put up a temporary, portable bridge to replace a span that collapsed on U.S. 85 on the north side of Lusk, spokesman Bruce Burrows said.

The bridge goes over railroad tracks.

A sister bridge on the same highway, which goes over the Niobrara River, appeared intact, but engineers were still assessing it, Burrows said.

Up to 6 inches of rain inundated the area late Wednesday and early Thursday, triggering the flash floods.

The National Weather Service said there was a chance of more scattered thunderstorms with heavy rain throughout the state Friday.

A flash-flood watch was posted for a large area of north-central and eastern Wyoming where many rivers and streams are running high.

The storms were part of a system that dumped heavy rain and touched off tornadoes across Colorado on Friday.

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