Southcentral Alaska Copes With Flooding

Elaine Dessants Checks on her House on Mercedes Road in the Talkeetna River Subdivision. Photo by Lorien Nettleton, KTNA - Talkeetna

The Matanuska and Susitna Valleys are reeling from floods due to Wednesday’s intense wind and rain. Earlier today, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough declared a state of emergency and has requested help from state officials. John Madden, director of Alaska Homeland Security and emergency manager for the state, says the state emergency operations center has been activated.

Madden says state liaisons are working with the Borough emergency operations center, but, so far, the state has not deployed any equipment or crews to the Mat-Su. He says the local emergency operations responders are doing the job.

Carole Vardemon, with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough emergency operations center, says rain is expected to taper off by Friday, although more rain is expected over the weekend, followed by another wind event. Vardemon says so far, only four people have taken shelter in one of three emergency shelters the Borough has set up. Rivers and creeks are rising dramatically, and in one instance early this morning, high water prompted an unusual rescue.

Farther north in the Mat-Su Borough, the river gauge on the Yentna is three feet underwater. Several other creeks and rivers have already crested or are forecast to crest later Thursday. Emergency crews are making house to house contact in affected areas in Willow, Trapper Creek and Talkeetna, and an Anchorage Fire Department dive team has been stationed in Sunshine.

By 11 this morning, the Talkeetna River had risen over several riverfront properties and begun streaming across a road into the Talkeetna Riverfront Subdivision.

Elaine Desants’ house was surrounded by several feet of water, although it had not yet made it inside her house which is three feet off the ground. She was in her home in the Talkeetna River Subdivision when Emergency Services knocked on her door this morning.

Iditarod Musher Jerry Sousa began bringing in truckloads of gravel this morning to shore up the boat launch at his river-front Talkeetna Fishing Guides, turning his Iditarod Drop-Bags in to makeshift sandbags. The Talkeetna River is expected to crest later today. So far no injuries or property loss has been reported in Talkeetna.

Heavy rain also prompted some voluntary evacuations in Seward today. And the Kenai River is expected to reach flood stage early this evening.

Meanwhile, a new flood warning was issued for Cordova late this afternoon, as heavy rainfall is expected there tonight.







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