Yukon River Causing Flooding In Galena

National Weather Service Photo.
National Weather Service Photo.

The Yukon river is flooding in Galena as an ice jam at a notorious bend called Bishop’s Rock is keeping water high near Galena.

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Ed Plumb is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. He’s in Galena and says the water started coming up rapidly this afternoon.

“Old town which is right along the river is all under water and just estimating from the air it looks like several feet of water in most of the buildings or more,” Plumb said. “And then the sections of new town or uptown, just up river, there’s a lot of sections of town that are cut off because roads are washed out and a lot of, just from the air, we could see a lot of buildings, homes, residences under water, or with water in them.”

Plumb says the power is off in Galena, but it was not clear if city officials had shut it off or it had blown out. He says the Yukon is low farther down river from the jam at Bishop’s Rock.

“Ice is starting to kind of shift and move from Koyukuk down to Nulato and we have reports that even down to Kaltag ice is shifting so that could be a good thing for those communities when this ice jam does break, if the ice down river has shifted and moved some,” Plumb said.

NWS hydrologist David Streubel says farther to the Northwest, there is a flood warning for Hughes on the Koyukuk River.

“Where the ice jammed up this morning at 3 a.m. They subsequently had some minor flooding during the morning hours and that as of around noon, the water was dropping a little bit at Hughes. Also the village of Buckland on the Buckland river has an ice jam where minor flooding is occurring and that ice could cause more problems for Buckland over the next two days as it’s usually a slower process for the ice to go out,” Streubel said.

Streubel says the rapid warming conditions could create flooding concerns for other areas of the state this week, including Southcentral Alaska.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori