by Phillip Manning ~ June 5th, 2013
With last fall’s flood still fresh in their minds, many northern Susitna Valley residents watched with increasing concern last week as the Susitna and Talkeetna rivers began to rise once again. In the end, however, the water levels never passed minor flood stage, and the areas of Talkeetna that are still recovering from the last flood were spared another round of river water in their homes and businesses.
I was able to speak to Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Ken Farina, about the lessons learned from the fall 2012 flood, and how those lessons have been applied in planning for the next high water event.
That plan includes residents finding a “high ground buddy” and preparing and maintaining a “go bag” that would allow residents to have necessary supplies on hand in the event of an evacuation on short notice. Chief Farina says that the preparations that have been suggested would greatly benefit residents in the event of any type of natural disaster, not just floods. Many local businesses are also included in the flood preparations, should a high water event occur during the summer season, when hundreds of outside visitors are in town.
Despite the months of planning, Chief Farina says that the Emergency Services team is very relieved that the rivers and creeks stopped rising before any major flooding occurred. He says that the only reported flooding, thus far, was in areas that he referred to as “the usual suspects,” including Yoder and Kalispell roads and Mercedes Drive. As of the morning of June 5th, he was not aware of any damage to private property. Chief Farina added that he wishes to thank the emergency responders and all the area residents who participated in the planning for the next flood.