Many roads in Haines were badly damaged after heavy rain and floods on Wednesday. (Photo provided by Darwin Feakes)
Six people are reportedly missing in Haines after a record-breaking rainstorm triggered devastating avalanches, landslides and floods in Southeast Alaska.
At 1:50 p.m.. m. On Wednesday, Alaska State Troopers were informed of a major landslide in Haines, with the greatest damage from heavy rains on Tuesday and Wednesday. Residents reported that a landslide had ridden through the Beach Road neighborhood, which includes homes, the city’s cruise ship dock and the Portage Cove State recreation area.
« It is believed that at least one home has been destroyed and people are missing, » Soldiers said in an online report.
Alekka Fullerton, Interim Borough Manager, said at 5:15 p.m.. m. According to the latest information available to her, six people are missing, but she has also heard reports that some of the missing may have left the landslide area. Olerud said he heard conflicting numbers.
The city ordered an evacuation of the area because “the residents are in immediate danger of another landslide. ”
Search and rescue efforts are underway, soldiers said, and mountain rescue teams have been deployed from Juneau. The U. S.. . The Coast Guard also flew a helicopter from Sitka and two Coast Guard cutters were en route, Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow, a Coast Guard spokesman in Alaska, said Wednesday afternoon.
The city government declared a flood emergency at 10:30 a.m.. m. Wednesday, warning residents to stay out of the streets because so many have been washed out or blocked by landslides. The situation worsened during the day.
Aaron Jacobs, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Juneau, said heavy rain is expected to continue through Wednesday evening.
« The area is great for more debris flows later in the evening, » he said, using a technical term for landslides.
« Haines will need a lot of prayers, » Mayor Olerud said in a written statement Wednesday morning. “We have several streets that have washed out, mudslides and houses that are flooded. The crews worked all night but the amount of rain we get makes it hard for them to address any issues. ”
The Haines Highway, which connects the city with Canada, has been closed and the city’s airport partially flooded. In the morning the road to the local ferry terminal and the barge dock was blocked by a landslide.
This separated the city’s emergency diesel generator from the city’s largest fuel tanks, but in the evening a narrow path was clear for tankers. The local radio station indicated that people cut off from the city by the landslide could request evacuation by boat. The signal was to shed a light on Lutak Inlet.
« We have 30 people that we recently evacuated and brought into town by water. You will be looked after and accommodated in local hotels, « said Olerud around 5pm. m.
Pictures taken earlier in the day showed that the Spruce Grove Trailer Park was flooded to the level of the hatchback license plate on a partially submerged SUV. The city reported that a water pipe was broken, the water treatment plant was overloaded, and some residents were advised to boil their water.
After the slide, Olerud said it would take weeks, if not months, to fully repair the damage, but he was grateful to the residents who used their own tractors and heavy equipment to divert water and offer assistance.
« It’s pretty impressive to live in a community where so many people aren’t waiting to be asked for help. You just dive in, ”he said.
Haines, Alaska has been badly hit by heavy rain (persistent), flooding, mudslides, and washed-out roads. . Everything closed, including the airport and medical clinic. . CG Medivac had to land in town this morning. . Pictures: Young Rd, Spruce Grove, airport picture. Twitter. com / khvKeBidQ4
Even for the world’s largest temperate rainforest, this week’s storm was exceptional: nearly a foot of rain fell on the small town of Pelican in a 48-hour period.
« It’s actually pretty amazing the numbers we’re seeing, » said Juneau weather service meteorologist Caleb Cravens.
In Juneau, Tuesday was the wettest day since reliable records began in 1936. A measuring station at the city airport recorded 4. It rained 93 inches on Tuesday, breaking a daily record that had been in place since 1946. The National Weather Service measured 6. 54 inches at the airport within 48 hours.
This storm is one for the record books. Look at these impressive numbers. #akwx @KTOOpubmedia @KRBDRadio @ravenradio @KHNS_FM @ KFSK1 picture. Twitter. com / sKvrlGwjfr
Strong winds and record high temperatures accompanied the rain. The snowpack melts at higher elevations and contributes to local flooding. The winds, which at times blew over 60 miles per hour, encouraged avalanches and mudslides and knocked down trees, causing a loss of energy.
In Juneau’s Mountainside Drive neighborhood, Jason and Kristy Backes heard alarming noises from the hillside behind their house on Tuesday afternoon. They packed suitcases, ready to be evacuated, and at 5 p.m.. m. the slowly moving film became visible even in the dark.
« I looked out the back window and saw the logs and mud coming in, » said Jason Backes.
The slide ripped off the deck of a neighboring house and dropped a sauna into their back yard.
Rain and wind arrived as part of an « atmospheric river, » a weather pattern that carries moisture, wind, and warm air from the central Pacific in a narrow channel. The storm was forecast well in advance so local and state workers could mobilize in time.
Nice moisture hose that arrives at the Alaska Panhandle, as demonstrated by the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product: https: // t. co / gcVpyzhiIs #AKwx pic. Twitter. com / Qk23AvBY66
Town workers – including Juneau Mayoress Beth Weldon – arrived at the Backes house late Tuesday and channeled the creek away from the house.
Similar scenes took place elsewhere in the city. A mudslide that blocked a highway and threatened a playground was diverted and removed before Wednesday noon. Heavy equipment operated by state and local workers was active across the city.
Elsewhere in Southeast Alaska, more than 2 feet of water covered some roads in Gustavus, and « Hyder has been without power for two days due to heavy snowfall, » Cravens said.
In Skagway, Mayor Andrew Cremata said a landslide had blocked the road to the Klondike Gold Rush site of Dyea, and some basements would be flooded. He said the situation was far less serious than it was before Haines.
While Southeast Alaska regularly – if infrequently – experiences atmospheric rivers, this one had the right ingredients for a particularly humid storm, Cravens said.
James Brooks, of Juneau, covers the state government, Alaska law, and general duties for the Daily News. He previously reported and edited for the Juneau Empire, Kodiak Daily Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Alaska, landslide, Haines, Juneau, flood
World News – CA – 6 was reported missing in Haines after record rainfall caused floods and landslides in southeast Alaska
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