Monday, May 11, 2009

As Eagle, Alaska Continues To Clean Up, Flood Threats Shift Further Down The Yukon And Kuskokwim Rivers

View all posts on the 2009 Interior Alaska floods HERE, in inverse chronological order. The most recent post will appear first.

Note: A National Weather Service list of current flood watches and advisories for Interior Alaska is available HERE.

The residents of Eagle, Alaska continue to dry out and clean up after their disastrous flood. The focus of today's KTUU media story is on the McMullin family, who didn't completely lose their home, but did suffer considerable damage. Right now, they're sorting through dampened food coated with contaminants. "It's fuel oil and feces, because when the water came up and filled this entire area, it went around and around and couldn't go anywhere," one family member said. The floodwaters passed through septic and fuel tanks, and right on through the McMullins' root cellar, depositing an unappetizing and smelly residue in their wake. But the McMullins feel fortunate to still have a home. Read an additional story about recovery efforts in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

An account has been set up at Wells Fargo for donations to the recovery effort in Eagle called "Rebuild Eagle". You can donate to this account at any Wells Fargo branch nationwide. However, donations for people impacted by flooding in Eagle continue to pour in. Everts Air Cargo delivered 10,000 pounds of clothing and other goods from Fairbanks on Thursday May 7th. At the Eagle Community School gym, volunteers are still sorting through the donations. And the Alaska Army National Guard is sending water to Eagle, bringing two 400-gallon water tanks from Anchorage and two more from Fairbanks. The tanks will be filled in Tok.

The Anchorage Daily News has a collection of 48 photos HERE.

Meanwhile, the flood threat along the Yukon has now shifted to Stevens Village. Most residents have been evacuated, but 20 people remained behind to perform emergency procedures. There were some reports Sunday of flooding. But there may be a secondary threat of renewed flooding for Fort Yukon or Beaver, depending upon whether or not an ice breakup front stretching 30 miles on the Porcupine River jams near either town. The Porcupine River joins the Yukon River near Fort Yukon.

And people living along the Kuskokwim River are keeping a close eye on flooding there. In McGrath, officials are working with a contractor in that town to stabilize a levy. Officials state flatly that there would be flooding in McGrath if the levy were to fail.

Thirty-seven people in Akiak have been evacuated to Bethel because of flooding. Most of them are elders, pregnant women and children. Those remaining in the town have taken shelter in the village school. Akiak has also received diesel fuel, a diesel transfer pump, potable water, food, and other items. Homeland Security also has provided a satellite phone for emergency communications.

In addition, water is beginning to rise around Bethel, a significant concern because it is the leading population center for all of southwest Alaska. The village of Kwethluk also is a concern.

The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for Akiak, Bethel, Kwethluk, Tuluksak and Napakiak.

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