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Interior Flooding Begins

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National Weather Service

Rapid melt off of an above-normal snowpack is causing minor flooding around the Interior. National Weather Service meteorologist John Cowan says above normal temperatures over the last week have resulted in significant melting.

Cowan says localized flooding is affecting roads in a few areas. State Department of Transportation Northern Region spokesperson Caitlin Frye says snowmelt run off is a problem on several sections of road near rivers and creeks, including along the recently opened Taylor Highway, in the Eastern Interior.

"Got shut down again, yesterday at MP 54, with pretty serious damage and water going across the road. We also have roads that have shut down in the Delta area, and we are watching a spot on Chena Hot Springs Road around Mile 26, we have a flood alert for that part of the road."

Another Fairbanks area trouble spot is along Ballaine Road, where Goldstream Creek has is backed up. The DOT also reports also reports problems on the Steese Highway between Central and Circle, the Elliot Highway west of Livengood, and the Dalton Highway at milepost 6. Frye cautions that flooding is expected to continue, and it might get worse.

"If you are going to one of our more remote highways, like the Taylor. Please drive a 4WD vehicle, and bring emergency supplies."

As far as the larger breakup picture in the Interior goes, the Weather Service’s Cowan says flood concerns remain along the region’s larger rivers, including the Tanana and Yukon.

"We are expecting more of a mechanical (dynamic) breakup this year.”

Cowan says the National Weather Service is working with river community observers, as well as pilots to track break up conditions.

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.