LISTEN: Alaska river forecasters continue to keep a close eye on breakup

Kuskokwim and Gweek Rivers on 5/2/14 . (Photo by Ben Matheson/KYUK)

Spring breakup across Alaska has the potential to cause severe flooding in riverside communities, especially after a cold, snowy winter this year across much of the state. That allowed ice thickness to increase and stored a lot of snow up high, where it is just starting to melt.

Recent warm weather is helping melt snow at lower elevations and removing some of the risk, but river forecasters say towns and villages alongside large waterways should remain vigilant.

National Weather Service hydrologist Celine Van Breukelen says some of the in-person meetings with communities have been moved to phone or video chat due to concerns over coronavirus. But Van Breukelen says forecasters continue to gather and disseminate timely information about breakup.

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