Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Flood Update 11:30pm 8/18/06 Water crosses Pa

EOC | Patty Sullivan | Friday, August 18, 2006

The Parks Highway is closed at mile 137 where the Troublesome Creek Bridge reportedly dropped a foot. Water is crossing the Parks Highway at two other location ns as of 10 pm Friday night. Alaska State Troopers are on scene at mile 147 on the Parks directing traffic. Water has also crossed the roadway at mile 133 near the Princess Lodge. The Alaska Dept. of Transportation is bulldozing an access road to divert water flow at mile 133 on the Parks.

Three different drainage areas are creating trouble spots at the moment off Willow Creek and off the Little Susitna River and off the Talkeetna River.

In East Talkeetna, Emergency responders are sounding sirens and evacuating residents in a subdivision. Water has breached the Talkeetna River into the Talkeetna River Subdivision in at least two places. KTNA radio is announcing the evacuation. The area has up to 60 people, though some of the buildings may be weekend cabins. Fire crews are trying to go door to door. Mercedes Road is off Beaver Road. Su Valley High outside of Talkeetna is open as a shelter. More sandbags are being moved to Talkeetna.

Montana Creek has flooded over Montana Creek Road. Montana Railroad Bridge has water flowing across it. Emergency responders are in the process of evacuating some residents there.

Borough Manager John Duffy and Borough Mayor Tim Anderson have requested a formal state disaster declaration from the Governor. Earlier Gov. Frank Murkowski issued a press release extending his help.

In the Hatcher Pass area, a couple was rescued from a home off Wasilla-Fishhook Road. Dive teams and fire units responded to a house off Welch Road near mile 8.2 of Wasilla-Fishook Road. The responders had to take a boat across the Little Susitna River to pull the couple from their home. The residents are safe and went to stay with family.

In Willow, the Willow Fishhook Road is closed at mile 14. Earlier half a dozen homes were flooded. Friday Road and Willow Way are reportedly under water. Residents were asked to evacuate earlier when emergency responders went door to door.

Rising waters are threatening two bridges in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the Shirley Towne Bridge in Willow and the Moose Meadows Bridge near Schrock Drive and Carney Road outside Wasilla. Approaches on both bridges are washing away.

Near the Hatcher Pass area, another troubled spot is along the Little Su off Wasilla Fishhook Road. At least six homes on Shorty Street are threatened by rising water in the Little Susitna River as well as some off Edgerton Parks Road. The couple was rescued from this area.

Shelters are open at the Willow Community Center and at Larson Elementary School and Su Valley High. Sutton Elementary, and Su Valley High are on standby for shelters. Incident Commander Dennis Brodigan has asked residents who live in low-lying areas along swelling rivers and creeks to have an exit plan.

Sandbags are available to the public at two location ns. The public is allowed to pick up and fill sandbags at the new DOT lot at mile 71.2 on the Parks Highway in Willow or at the Central Landfill on 49th State Street in the Core Area. The Borough is staging them and assessing waterways. The Borough expects it will have more than 4,400 sandbags to use and has ordered more. Volunteer crews helped fill more than 500 sandbags.

Borough and local responders have been monitoring key location ns in the Upper Susitna Valley to gauge the quickly rising water levels in area creeks and rivers, which is determined to be rising between 4 inches to 6 inches per hour at certain sites along the Talkeetna River.

Borough Mayor Tim Anderson signed a disaster declaration this afternoon for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The Borough activated an Emergency Operations Center earlier this afternoon. State Troopers and Department of Transportation are working with the Borough.

On the Glenn Highway, rocks were on the road at mile 70. Drivers should be cautious of the rocks and of the Dept. of Transportation crews on scene.

In a 10 pm update the National Weather Service has forecasted heavy rain to continue in the Talkeetna Mountains and across Southcentral Alaska throughout the night. The flood warning remains in effect until Sunday.

A disaster declaration means the incident has gone above normal operation levels and Borough resources are being taxed.