by Lorien Nettleton ~ December 4th, 2012
September’s flood dominated discussion at Monday Night’s monthly meeting of the Talkeetna Community Council. Mat SU Borough Emergency Services MAnager Casey Cook informed the community that since President Obama’s November 27th disaster declaration for Alaska, FEMA will be visiting affected areas of the Borough next week. Members of the community shared their observations about what preventative measures must be taken to prevent future flood events, and what repairs are necessary after high water in september compromised several of the town-site’s defensive structures such as the dyke and the revetment on the Talkeetna and Susitna rivers.
Cook told the council that with a federal disaster declaration, several more avenues of funding have become available to bring defensive structures back to what they were before the flooding, and money may be available for additional measures to mitigate catastrophic flooding that could occur in the future.
Many audience members expressed concern about the urgent need to repair the dike this winter before spring break-up, due to the high volume of ice on the river right now, and fears that spring ice jams would cause flooding at the end of April or Early May. Cook said residents should plan on getting wet when springtime comes. He urged people to have their irreplaceable items, important documents, and personal effects ready to be evacuated on short notice, and reminded people that flood insurance must be purchased 30 days prior to a flood event for it to cover damages.
The Council formed a Flood Mitigation Committee and scheduled a meeting in the coming week to gather information from residents and local experts about what steps should be taken. The committee will then submit that feedback to the Borough and FEMA so they can take local information in to account to make the best possible repairs and have a full appreciation of where the water came in, where it went, and what could be done to prevent it in the future. The time and location of that meeting is still being confirmed, and KTNA will update as soon as more information is available.