Crooked Creek at mile 5.14 by Donlin Gold was flooding on Sunday, and across the Yukon River drainage waters rose and receded Monday as breakup is underway on Alaska’s major rivers. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has declared a disaster in order to free up resources to assist communities, and has disaster officials on the ground in affected areas.
Residents say that in Circle, it’s the worst flooding they ever seen. Houses and fuel tanks were seen floating down the Yukon River. The general store is closed due to flooding, which reached as far as the Circle Post Office.
Sources said when the ice broke, it flooded quickly, causing people to dash to higher ground.
Flood warnings have been issued for Crooked Creek on the Kuskokwim River and Circle on the Yukon River, as water levels rise and conditions worsen. Flood watches are in place for Fort Yukon and Aniak.
Crooked Creek bore the brunt of significant flooding Sunday, with water levels oscillating unpredictably, according to the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The Kuskokwim River Watch team, having landed in Crooked Creek yesterday, stayed in communication with community leaders throughout the night. The majority of residents are taking refuge at the local school, which is situated on higher ground.
Circle, Alaska, with ice floes on the Main Street, after the water receded.
In a concerted effort to monitor the situation and provide aid, the Kusko River Watch team has also been in contact with the State Emergency Operation Center, Alaska State Troopers, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, Alaska National Guard, and Alaska Village Council Presidents.
Circle is currently battling flooding as a result of a 90-mile ice run pushing past the community. Activating their flood plan, residents have moved to safer, higher grounds. The Upper Yukon River Watch team will conduct an aerial survey today to provide updates to Circle and Fort Yukon. Additionally, two Emergency Managers from the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHS&EM) River Watch team will be on site to assist with flood response.
Meanwhile, Glennallen is grappling with flooding due to snowmelt. An Emergency Management Specialist from the State Emergency Operation Center has been dispatched to assist the local emergency management team.
In response to the escalating situation, Governor Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration yesterday for the following:
- Alaska Gateway REAA (City and Native Village of Eagle)
- Yukon Flats REAA (Circle)
- Kuspuk REAA (Crooked Creek)
- Copper River REAA (Glennallen)
The measure will expedite resources and aid to communities as they grapple with the flooding affecting the region.