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Friday Flooding prompts evacuations, sandbag response

by Lorien Nettleton ~ September 21st, 2012

The Talkeetna River began to rise on Wednesday night, and breached its banks on Thursday morning, flowing in to East Talkeetna. By Friday, large areas of east Talkeetna were under several inches of water, affecting about 100 homes.

Emergency operations were organizing to start a sandbag operation in east Talkeetna when reports of a rapidly rising Susitna River raised concerns of widespread flooding. Captain Tim Morgan with Talkeetna Fire and Rescue says the limited resources on hand today were first used to evacuate the town.

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Robin Radlein (rad-line)  from the National Weather Service, the hydrologist in charge of the Alaska Pacific Forecast Center, has been monitoring flood conditions in the Susitna Valley. Radlein says the rising Susitna River could leave the already flooding Talkeetna river with nowhere to go, causing a bottle neck that could mean more breaching levees.

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With the majority of people removed from town, emergency workers organized volunteers to begin sandbag work in downtown Talkeetna to limit encroaching water coming in to Main Street from the Susitna River. A shortage of sandbags has limited the amount of preventative measures to the Main Street and river-front area of downtown Talkeetna.

Chris Love is working as EMS and swift-water rescue, at 2 o’clock he was tasked with coordinating the sandbag efforts on Main Street in Talkeetna where the town and riverfront meet.

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