Fairbanks, AK - A massive ice jam 12 miles upriver from Fort Yukon partially let loose early this morning. National Weather Service Hydrologist Ed Plumb says the ice sheet hasn’t broken entirely, but water backed up behind it is starting to move downriver. “With the ice jam partially open and water being released, this is definitely a good situation," explains Plumb, "because now we don’t have water being built up back behind the ice jam so this will lessen the threat of a sudden release of water coming down the Yukon River and water levels rising quickly in Fort Yukon.”
Low lying areas of Fort Yukon are still seeing some flooding. Ed Plumb says communities like Beaver and Steven’s Village further downriver still face a serious threat of high water. “There is still the in-place ice from the winter that has not moved yet," says Plumb, "so until all the ice is out even below fort Yukon there is still the threat of more jamming.”
The National Weather Service and the Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management flew over the river at Fort Yukon this morning (Wed.). They will continue to monitor the situation, but they haven’t scheduled an afternoon Riverwatch flight.