Forecasters Investigate Breakup Factors

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

As spring advances across Alaska, forecasters are looking at factors that will determine the severity of this year’s break up. National Weather Service River Forecast Center Hydrologist Scott Lindsey says at this point there’s a higher than normal chance of flooding in many areas.  Lindsey says the big November warm up and rain storm that hit the Western and Central Interior hard could result in river ice problems this spring.

Lindsey says the unusual Thanksgiving weather up also resulted in a bunch of jumble ice stacking up on the lower portions of the Kuskokwim and Tanana Rivers.

Another factor which affects break up, snow pack, has been normal or below normal in most areas, except in northwest Alaska where the snow fall was well above average. Lindsey says the biggest break up factor is weather over the next month.  He says if it stays cool and then rapidly warms ice jams and flooding are likely, as a surge of melt water hits relatively strong river ice.

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