For sixteen years, Montana natives TJ and Victoria Britton built their lives and made precious memories in their house, located along the banks of the Yellowstone River. This past Sunday, the couple had to watch as their home and belongings were washed away in the flood.
The good news is, of course, that the Brittons are still here to tell their story. Understandably, though, the loss of their place of comfort and safety is devastating.
“It’s something I never in a million years thought was even possible… it’s still unbelievable,” TJ told CNN’s New Day.
With their home so close to Yellowstone River, the Brittons were no strangers to high river levels. But nothing could prepare them for the rainfall and flooding they saw earlier this week. By 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 13, torrential rain and “substantial flooding” began to take hold, quickly causing Yellowstone National Park to close its gates for the safety of patrons and employees. Soon, the floods ate away at roads and sparked mudslides that eventually prompted Montana Governor Greg Gianforte to call for a statewide emergency.
The previous evening, the Brittons, themselves, sensed something was off about this rainstorm, even before rescue crews began evacuating national park guests.
“At first, I thought that it might have just been the trees coming down the river, banging into each other, but it was shaking the house, which was very strange,” Victoria Britton explained.
The next morning, Victoria discovered the reason behind the tremors.
“It was actually the embankment crumbling, and that’s why the house was rumbling and shaking,” she recalled.
Montana Couple Describes Moment When They Saw Their House Floating in the Yellowstone River
TJ and Victoria weren’t actually present at the exact moment when his house fell off the embankment. Rather, they had a much more bizarre experience.
At the time, they were picking up supplies from a friend’s house, as TJ told CNN. While on their way back to the house, they watched onlookers crowd around the guardrail. Naturally, they pulled over, too, curious to see what was stopping traffic.
“And right around the corner of the river came my house,” TJ said. “That was the weirdest thing I ever saw in my life.”
From a safe distance, they sat and watched the center of their home lives float along the muddy river water.
“It was a long drawn out [process],” TJ Britton shared. “My canoe, my boat fell in. Part of the garage was hanging out. The concrete pad in front of the house was gone. And then the garage fell off. The decks fell off. And the house eventually.”
To make matters even worse, the Montana couple encountered a particularly unruly group of tourists that began applauding as their home was swept along the Yellowstone River.
“That was frustrating,” Victoria admitted. “We heard a few people have some uncompassionate, unsympathetic things to say as we’re sitting there just waiting for our whole entire life to fall into the river.”