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Rivers are Rising, but No Floods Forecast

by Phillip Manning ~ August 21st, 2013

Much of Alaska saw a very dry summer, resulting in low rivers.  Now, with the August rains returning, many rivers in South-Central are beginning to swell again.  The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement saying that rainfall has contributed to rising rivers, but that the higher water mostly represents a return to normalcy.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no rivers were listed as being in flood stage.  The Susitna River at the Denali Highway crossing is closest to flooding, and is described as being in “Action Stage.” Robin Radlein, a hydrologist with the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center, says that Action Stage means that the river is high enough that the Weather Service will consider whether to issue a flood advisory, and that some groups, such as the Alaska Railroad, might take additional monitoring steps.   

While many rivers and creeks in the Susitna Valley have risen as much as a foot in the last twenty-four hours, Radlein says that the projected rainfall is not likely to cause flooding in the Mat-Su Borough or Anchorage areas. Even so, she advises residents of those regions to keep an eye on what the rivers are doing.  If rainfall exceeds what is projected, it could cause rivers to get near flood stage.

The National Weather Service has issued one flood advisory for the Copper River Basin.  The advisory is due to an ice-dammed lake on the Nelchina Glacier releasing water.  The advisory will last through early Monday morning. No other flood advisories are currently in effect.

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