Thursday, June 1, 2023
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Dunleavy hops on helo and heads to Manley to survey flood, declares disaster as ice jams, waters rise

Gov. Mike Dunleavy was scheduled to be at a forum with three other Republican gubernatorial contestants on Saturday evening in Palmer, but instead was flying to Fairbanks to survey the Tanana River flooding in Manley Hot Springs, where 50-74 people who live in low-lying areas have been relocated to higher ground.

The governor declared a state disaster declaration for Manley and state and tribal officials are keeping a close eye on other river communities, such as Circle, as jammed ice poses a risk of further flooding. The declaration directs all State of Alaska agencies to respond to this event. The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is coordinating response efforts directly with Department of Public Safety and Tanana Chiefs Conference.

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“We knew the potential for flooding this year was significant, and my Administration has been on alert and prepared to respond immediately to these events as they unfold,” Dunleavy said. “I want to thank Chairman Brian Ridley and the Tanana Chiefs Conference for their rapid response to the situation. TCC is working directly with the State EOC to ensure a coordinated effort to support the individuals and families impacted by this historic event.”

An emergency manager from the State EOC is deploying to the area tomorrow to assist in coordinating flood fighting, evacuation, and sheltering operations as necessary. In addition, Civil Air Patrol and National Weather Service conducted an overflight of the community today. The Alaska State Troopers also conducted aerial observations of the flooding.  

The governor is also monitoring ice jam conditions along the Kuskokwim River near Crooked Creek, and the beginning of breakup on the upper Yukon River near Eagle and Circle. Should additional communities be impacted by ice jam flooding, the disaster declaration will be amended to support response and recovery operations.

The flooding in Manley is said to be the worst since the 1950s. The power is out in the community and nighttime temperatures will be in the 30s. Some people have been sheltered at the Manley Hot Springs Lodge.

Earlier Saturday, the National Weather Service had issued the flood warning.

“An ice jam has formed on the Tanana River downstream from Manley Hot Springs,” the agency wrote. “River observer in Manley Hot Springs reported significant flooding in Manley Hot Springs as water continues to rise along with ice flowing up through the slough. The observer reported that almost all roads in Manley are flooded and that several houses on the slough bank have water either in or surrounding them. Water is over the Elliott Highway across from the Manley Hot Springs bathhouse.”

The flood warning remains in effect until 6 pm Sunday.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Gotta love this governor. He actually helps Alaskans in need. Bill Walker, on the other hand, takes from Alaskans (PFD), and would prefer to help the Communist Chinese take a piece of Alaska away from Alaskans. Governor Dunleavy would throw his life on the line to save a child. Bill Walker, on the other hand, would aide and abet a child abuser (think Byron Mallot) for political power. The choice could not be more clear. Thank you, Governor Dunleavy.

  2. Interesting!
    The major daily papers in Alaska are reporting this flooding situation (some, on front pages), but zero mention of Governor Dunleavy visiting the sites. Thanks, Suzanne!!

  3. Once again, another river front village is flooded out during spring break-up. Hmmmm, does this sound familiar? At what point in time do we face realities and take meaningful – significant action?
    Here’s a reasonable – responsible solution … utilizing a combination of Federal, State, and Native Corp money, relocating the villages to higher ground and building roads to the river. Additionally, the initiative could also build – improve dock or piers at rivers edge.
    As always, I’m not encouraged by any Guv’ment official / entity to take the lead on this endeavor of solving the problem. So(!!!), we can expect nothing less than to read a similar story this time next year.

  4. KUDOS to the Governor!!! This was the RIGHT THING TO DO!! Not all of our legislators would have responded in the same way. A moral compas is necessary for the courage to do the right thing.

  5. Of course the papers do not mention the man they are targeting so they can get China Bill back in power. I wonder if his absence was noted from the debate he was scheduled to be at, or did his competitors just seize the chance to get in more points. He did what he was supposed to do, drop everything, assess the damage in person and declare a disaster to free up funds as quickly as possible. My prayers are with the residents on the Tanana River and others in Alaska that may face similar situations soon as the ice breaks up. And yes, it may be time to move back, build roads to the rivers and stay high and dry. Is the legislature even capable of taking this up?

  6. Can’t believe all the ignorant stupid people who don’t realize that he cannot touch the money and yet they are blaming him for not getting a full PFD. wake up Alaska. Learn to read the law.

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