‘Unusual for sure’: Excessive rain triggers flood warning in Unalaska

flooding around a series of homes
The National Weather Service is warning residents of the potential of more flooding and mudslides. (Lauren Adams/KUCB)

Excessive rain in Unalaska has led to a flood warning, and the city has closed several roads and public buildings.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday between 3 to 3.5 inches of rain had already fallen in the last 24 hours and that up to 5.5 inches were possible.

Mechele Hester is the senior weather supervisor at the airport in Dutch Harbor. And she said the one-day total precipitation — 3.76 inches as of 10 a.m. Tuesday — ranks in the top-10 highest on record.

“It’s unusual for sure. To have this many days and, looking at the forecast, for it to be continuing on? It’s definitely unusual,” Hester said.

While much of the state is experiencing sub-zero temperatures, Unalaska is unseasonably warm, with mercury levels hovering in the mid-40s over the past week.

Heavy fog and low visibility has the airport essentially socked in. Hester said only two planes have made it in over the past six days.

Two high pressure systems are squeezing warm air from the Pacific Ocean northwards over parts of the Aleutians, funneling warm air across parts of the chain.

The City of Unalaska issued a Category 2 travel advisory Tuesday morning. Ballyhoo Road and Summer Bay Road are closed, and the advisory warns residents to drive only when necessary. The roads crew has also removed manhole covers to help with drainage.

The warning tells residents to expect 6 inches of rain in the next 36-48 hours, with the possibility of more flooding and mudslides.

The flood warning remains in effect until midday Friday.

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