Seward Declares Emergency Due To Flooding

Heavy rains in Southcentral Alaska are inundating local rivers and creeks, causing flood concerns from Cordova to Anchorage. And a National Weather Service forecast for the Anchorage area indicates more wet weather to come this weekend.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Seward until 4 a.m. Thursday. The Resurrection River was forecast to go above major flood stage by 4 p.m. this afternoon. City manager Jim Hunt declared a state of emergency, and that has triggered the activation of the city’s emergency operations center.

The city is establishing a shelter at the High School for residents who need to evacuate their homes. Joanna Kinney, the Seward city clerk, says power is out in part of the city, due to trees falling on power lines.  The city owned utility is working to restore power, and Kinney says generators are at the ready if necessary. Kinney says local flooding is affecting some city roads and flooding is reported at mile 3 and 4 of the Seward highway.

Emergency services personnel in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and in the Kenai Peninsula Borough are also keeping an eye on flood danger. The Mat-Su Borough emergency operations center has been activated. EOC spokesperson Vickie Lee Fenster says wind gusts are taking a toll on power lines.

Matanuska Electric Association reported sporadic outages in Eagle River, Palmer, the Butte and Eklutna.  In all, over 3,700 customers were affected.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service’s hydro-meteorologist Dave Stricklan says the heavy rain will continue.

Strong winds blew trees down in Anchorage. An especially fierce gust this morning toppled and damaged a construction trailer on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Several incoming flights were diverted to Fairbanks.

More than 1,000 Chugach Electric customers lost power in the storm. But as of this afternoon, power had been restored to all but 100 homes.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen