Ice jams, rapid melting flood Alaska homes, businesses and roads

Flooding in Alaska inundated scores of homes, some of which were knocked off their foundations by large chunks of ice, and closed one of the state’s east-west highways to one lane.

Ice packs on the Yukon and Kusokwim rivers caused most of the damage through much of Alaska, while rapid melting of the snowpack caused Moose Creek to overflow near Glenallen. The flooding caused delays for drivers on the Glen Highway, which connects Anchorage to points east, including Canada.

Many homes and buildings were flooded in Glenallen (a town about 290 kilometers northeast of Anchorage), including a grocery store.

Glenallen’s sewer system has been damaged by flooding and portable toilets have been brought in until repairs can be made, the Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in a statement.

“Large pumps are dewatering the flooded areas, gravel is being laid to repair the emergency entrance, emergency repairs to the sewer line are continuing,” the message says.

Glenn Highway was expected to remain open while an air traffic control vehicle escorted motorists through flooded areas.

“It got so hot, so fast”

Glenallen resident Isaac Beshaw told Anchorage TV station KTUU that snow usually melts slowly, but the warm temperatures this year have sped it up.

“It got so hot this year, so fast, that everything, wherever it came from, just poured down and just flooded the whole thing,” he said.

Debris in the waters approaching the houses.
Another view of flooding in Crook Creek. (Jennifer Wallace, Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management/Associated Press)

KTUU drone video showed numerous cars, trucks and trailers submerged in water, with oil and gas sheens visible in the standing water.

Over the weekend, ice floes in the Yukon and Kuskowim rivers broke up, sending huge chunks, some up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) high, and sending water into riverside communities.

In the eastern part of the state along the Yukon River, 15 homes in the community of Circle were flooded and at least three were pushed off their foundations, emergency management officials said.

Flooding concerns were reported in two other Yukon River communities, including two flooded homes in Eagle and more in Fort Yukon.

Several homes were flooded along the Kusokwim River in southwest Alaska, and at least four were pushed off their foundations in Crook Creek. The runway was open, drinking water, supplies and two paramedics were taken to the village.

A shelter created in the school

All residents of Crook Creek were reported to be safe and accounted for and the clinic was operating, an emergency
the management agency informs. A shelter was created in the school.

Generators and crews were sent to repair the village’s well, electricity was partially restored.

Flood damage could be devastating in Crooked Creek and Circle, each of which has fewer than 100 residents. Governor Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration for both communities, along with Eagle and Glenallen.

At least two homes in Red Devil, another Kusokwim River community, also flooded.

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