by Phillip Manning ~ June 26th, 2014
A flood watch for the Upper Susitna Valley is now in effect through Saturday night. The flood advisory for the Talkeetna Mountains has been canceled. On Thursday afternoon, the Alaska-Pacific Forecast Center amended the previous advisory, saying that the Talkeetna River is now expected to remain within its banks after cresting on Thursday afternoon. The Susitna River is not currently forecast to flood, but it is now part of the flood advisory. Montana Creek has also risen significantly, but an area resident says that, as of Thursday afternoon, the road and bridge did not appear to be in jeopardy.
The River Forecast Center now expects rivers that drain the Alaska Range to be subject to flooding. Those include both the Yentna and the Skwentna. Both rivers are now forecast to reach moderate flood stage.
Denali National Park has also experienced significant rainfall, recently. The National Park Service has closed the Park Road past the Eielson Visitors Center at Mile 66. Additionally, the Denali Backcountry Lodge has been evacuated due to flooding. Fister says all guests are accounted for and are currently at another lodge on higher ground. She says that those guests as well as twelve Park Service employees cannot be transported by bus, due to high water on the road.
If flooding does occur in the Upper Valley, the National Weather Service reminds residents not to cross flooded roads. Casey Cook, Emergency Manager for the Mat-Su Borough, says that the borough will open access to sandbags stored at the Comsat Road building. Area residents wishing to obtain sandbags may obtain them by calling Cook’s borough office. He adds that, due to floodplain regulations and liability issues, the borough will not be able to deploy sandbags in the event of further flooding.
KTNA is continuing to monitor the situation on the Upper Valley’s rivers, and will provide updates as they become available.