by Lorien Nettleton ~ May 3rd, 2013
The potential for flooding due to break-up on the Susitna river is still rated as low to moderate by the National Weather Service, but with recent rains and a forecast warm-up in temperatures predicted for next week, that could all change in a moment’s notice.
The consistently cool temperatures of April have allowed the snowpack to gradually thaw. The addition of nearly an inch of rain and snow in the last 24 hours has increased the water volume of the above-average snowpack. If temperatures get in to the 50s during the week ahead, rapidly melting snow could pour in to the Susitna. The river ice is still fairly strong, and additional water could create conditions that make ice jams and flooding possible. However, if the warmup is short-lived, a return to cooler weather could give the rivers more time to gradually thaw.
Emergency Services Chief Eric Denkewalter cautions residents to stay on alert. He says that in the event of flooding, notice will be put out, and sirens will be sounded as an alert to be ready to leave. KTNA will have more updates on the river and weather as conditions change.