AK sees flooding

Heavy rains, flooding and mudslides have isolated several Alaskan cities.

BY HEATHER MOYER | VALDEZ, Alaska | October 12, 2006


Heavy rains, flooding and mudslides have isolated several Alaskan cities.

While some 200 residents once evacuated are now being allowed home, the southern Alaskan city of Valdez is now isolated as the only highway connecting it with the outside world has been washed out.

In two days the area received between eight and ten inches of rain - with more than six inches of rain falling in one 24 hour period, prompting mudslides and flash flooding. The Richardson Highway saw severe damage from the flash flooding and road crews are working quickly to repair it. Valdez is home to 4,400 residents, and the only ways in and out of town are via ferry, airplane or the Richardson Highway.

Officials have increased daily ferry service in order to bring supplies to the city, as current estimates are that the Richardson Highway may not be able to open for another seven to 10 days.

Damages to private homes are unknown at this time as many smaller creeks and streams flooded their banks during the storm. City workers are trying to reach all the isolated residents who live along the highway and are now stranded. Officials also say those within the city limits should boil their water before consumption.

The city of Cordova - south of Valdez - saw at least 22 inches of rain in only a few days, according to the National Weather Service. High water cut off the main highway into town and the Cordova airport is also flooded. The area also saw severe flooding in August.

Seward and parts of the Kenai Peninsula also reported flooding.


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