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Fairbanks Has Historically Rainy June

Fairbanks, AK - It’s official.  Last month was Fairbanks' wettest June on record. National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Bartus credits precipitation that began late yesterday with taking the total just past the previous record.

"We had some showers roll in, and in the 11th hour we broke the June monthly record of rainfall by one one-hundredth of an inch, so that makes this the wettest June on record," he said.

The official June 2014 rain total was 3.56 inches, breaking the previous record of 3.55 set in June 1949.  The last two weeks of June included two major precipitation events, and a third is underway as we begin July.

The situation is prompting flood warnings, watches and advisories around the central and eastern interior. The greatest flood danger is in the Alaska Range, but there’s also flood potential along the Salcha, Goodpaster and Chena Rivers and Birch Creek.

National Weather Service hydrologist Ed Plumb is tracking the impact of heavy precipitation over the drainages.

"This water is all going to run down into the Tanana river, especially the rain coming off the Alaska range. So we are expecting the Tanana river to get up to bankfull between Delta Junction and Nenana later this week and over the weekend and it's possible we may see some water over the banks," Plumb said.

The forecast calls for the weather to turn nice Thursday and stay that way through the 4th of July weekend. That’s prompting safety concerns as people head out to recreate.  Plumb cautions anyone venturing on or near the water, as rivers will be cresting over the weekend.

"The water is going to be high on a lot of rivers, it's going to be swift, there may be debris in the river. If you're in a canoe there might not be places to pull out and get out of the river," he said. "Don't park your car down on a gravel bar if it's dry now, because it's likely the water will come up and inundate most gravel bars. If you're camped on a gravel bar, keep an eye on the water level. You don't want to be taken by surprise in the middle of the night.”

Plumb says he’s in consultation with the Army Corps of Engineers in anticipation of high water in the Fairbanks area that could prompt operation of the Corps Chena Flood Control Project Dam, to prevent flooding in the cities of North Pole and Fairbanks.

Dan has been in public radio news in Alaska since 1993. He’s worked as a reporter, newscaster and talk show host at stations in McGrath, Valdez and Fairbanks. Dan’s experience includes coverage of a wide range of topics, from wolf control to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and dog mushing.