Flood watch for Kenai River drainage as dammed lake releases

The Kenai River (Wikimedia commons image)

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for much of the Kenai River drainage due to the release of water from a dammed glacial lake.

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The flood watch goes into effect Friday morning through Monday morning for Kenai Lake and the Upper Kenai River from Cooper Landing to Skilak Lake. In addition, water levels on the Lower Kenai River — from Skilak Lake to Cook Inlet — are expected to rise to bank-full conditions as well.

The cause of the flooding is the release of water backed up by the Snow Glacier, which began overnight. The weather service said there is “considerable uncertainty” of the volume of water being released and how fast it will drain, though it is coinciding with several days of forecast heavy rain.

The weather service projects that the Primrose campground on the east end of Kenai Lake and other low-lying areas will be flooded by Friday afternoon.

Water is expected to continue to rise on the Snow and Kenai rivers and Kenai lake into early next week.