Fairbanks Area Sees Heavy Rainfall, Flooding

The Fairbanks area has seen some impressive rainfall over the last few days. National Weather Service meteorologist John Lingass reports 2 to 3 inches around Fairbanks, and 3 to 4 inches over the hills northeast of town.

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The heavy rains are causing flooding along rivers. National Weather Service hydrologist Ed Plumb reports high water on the Chena River, along Chena Hot Springs road east of town.

“One to two feet of water is pouring over at mile 36.9 and it is impassable for some vehicles, and [there are] also reports of water over most of the banks out in the Chena rec area and other places upstream of the Moose Creek Dam,” Plumb says.

Gates on the Moose Creek Dam in North Pole are being lowered to shave off some of the cresting Chena, diverting flow into a spillway at the Chena Flood Control Project. Plumb says that will limit high water in the cities of North Pole and Fairbanks, but it won’t be enough to prevent flooding in the low lying Steamboat Landing, Freeman Road area just downstream of the dam. Meanwhile, he says flooding is also an issue on the Salcha River.

“One of our observers, about 20 miles upriver from the Richardson Highway bridge, and they’ve got 3-4 feet of water in their yard — and they’re in a cabin that’s generally up on a higher bank that doesn’t get flooded as often. They’re saying this is some of the highest water they’ve had since 1986.”

Plumb says the Goodpaster River is also high and likely overflowing it’s banks and flooding low lying areas, adding there are cabins along the river.