Tongue River drops as flood warning continues 6-12-07

ASHLAND, Mont. (AP) - A National Weather Service flood warning for the Ashland area remained in effect Tuesday as the Tongue River dropped after threatening homes and triggering some precautionary evacuations during the weekend.

Heavy rain swelled the river, which crested Monday at 11 feet, 1.5 feet above flood stage. By midday Tuesday, the river was at about 10.5 feet.

Some residents of the Ashland area who evacuated during the weekend returned home on Monday. Floodwaters closed part of Interstate 90 on Saturday, but the route reopened on Sunday.

The chairman of the Crow Tribe, Carl Venne, has declared a state of disaster on the Crow Indian Reservation. Tribal requests for assistance include an appeal for U.S. Department of Agriculture funds because of crop losses.

Owners of some homes and businesses on the reservation have been pumping water from basements. The Indian Health Service said water from wells could be contaminated, and should be boiled before being consumed.

The National Weather Service expected the flood warning to expire on Wednesday.