Kobuk Cleaning Up After Weekend Flooding

Susan Bucknell, KOTZ – Kotzebue

People in Kobuk are cleaning up after high water flooded village streets with ice over the weekend. The water started rising on Friday. By Saturday morning, residents of one home, including children and an elder of 94 years, were evacuated by boat to the village clinic. They reported their house was shaking as large chunks of ice crashed into it.

Residents say this is the worst flooding Kobuk has experienced in many years. The river rose five feet above flood level, and people were paddling and motoring their boats through the streets and between houses. Some people reported that the water level was very close to the glue-lam beams under their houses, only a foot or so below floor level.

Water was down by Sunday but it left lots of ice around town, with some roads not passable by vehicle because of the chunks of ice.

Kobuk residents are used to the threat of flooding, and prepare for the possibility every year. There were no injuries, but there will be a lot of cleaning up to do.

The village of Buckland in Northwest Alaska escaped flood damage this year after several days of flood warnings last week. Roads were underwater, as ice jams above and below the village raised water levels and threatened to flood homes.  But the ice came through without spilling over and damaging homes right along the river bank.

Photos courtesy of Gary King, VPSO in the village of Kobuk.

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