Yukon River flood update: Damage piles up

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In the past three days, communities along the Yukon River and within the Glennallen and Kuskokwim Divisions have experienced significant flooding due to snowmelt, ground saturation, and ice jams, resulting in substantial damage to infrastructure and homes, according to the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has declared a disaster. Here are the main details:

Eagle Village and Eagle City:

  • May 13: The Yukon River blocked access between the two towns by pushing significant ice chunks onto Mission Road.
  • May 14: Water receded, and DOT&PF crews began debris clearing operations to re-open the road. No injuries or residential damage reported.
  • May 15: Two homes near the boat landing flooded, resulting in families being evacuated. The Taylor highway remained open, and debris clearing on Mission Road continued.

Circle:

  • May 13: Serious flooding reported within the town, with water levels exceeding previously reported records. The local powerplant was taken offline as a precaution, and community incident commanders established full accountability of community members.
  • May 14: The Yukon Division Supervisor confirmed significant flood damage to the school, post office, and multiple homes. Several homes were knocked off their foundations due to ice chunks, and additional homes were swept into the river.
  • May 15: The Washeteria was damaged, and the sewage lagoon overtopped. The water well will need testing before being placed online. Power to food freezers was taken offline. A FirstNet system is being deployed, and food and water supplies are being dispatched to the community. Fifteen homes in the downtown area were damaged, and three more homes downriver suffered damage.

Fort Yukon:

  • May 14: Low-level flooding occurred. Water levels are slowly falling. The drinking water system remained unaffected.

Stevens Village:

  • May 15: A Flood Warning was issued, which includes a large ice threat. The village saw a 10-foot rise in water levels. There was approximately 2 feet of freeboard on the river bank.

KUSKOKWIM DIVISION:

Red Devil:

  • May 13: Water inundated parts of the community and closed the airstrip. The water level was reported to already be dropping. A full damage assessment is pending.
  • May 15: Water receded from the runway, but the airport will remain closed until tomorrow morning.

Crooked Creek:

  • May 13: Serious flooding was reported within Crooked Creek. Some community members were reported to be unable to reach high ground and sheltered in the upper floor of the community store or homes.
  • May 14: Twelve people previously requesting assistance were safely located and taken to the school shelter location.
  • May 15: School generator is working. School resources are being used to feed the community, and the school gym is being used for sheltering. Water receded from airport surfaces, but the runway is still very soft and will remain closed for a few more days.

Napaimute:

  • May 14: The community began taking precautions against possible impacts from the ice jam.
  • May 15: Community reported active flooding with sheltering in the city offices. No damage reported.

GLENNALLEN DIVISION:

  • May 13: Flooding in downtown Glennallen impacted homes and businesses due to snowmelt and ground saturation.
  • May 14: Six homes damaged, the sewer system compromised due to flood water, and the IGA store inundated.
  • May 15: Glenn Highway is open with pilot car support. Environmental concerns with fuel spills and sewage.