COTTONWOOD PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING-- The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for small streams in the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys, specifically in the Willow, Wasilla, Houston, and Sutton areas. By tonight, water could rise onto the Parks Highway at Willow Creek, mile 71.5.
Commuters who live in low-lying areas along Willow Creek, Montana Creek, Little Su, and possibly creeks and rivers near Talkeetna, may want to leave work earlier than usual. Some roads in those areas may become impassable later tonight. A resident near the Hatcher Pass area already reported trouble on Shorty Street, which parallels the Little Susitna River and is about seven miles up Wasilla Fishhook Road from Wasilla. Six homes are threatened by rising water. MAT-SU Emergency Services Director Dennis Brodigan dispatched a public works crew and a fire crew to evaluate the flooding. Brodigan put the dive rescue team on standby in case residents need to be boated across water.
Willow Creek is holding at just below flood stage. Water along it has in the past inundated neighborhood roads. Responders have gone to that area as well. Willow Creek runs parallel to Willow Fishhook Road. The Talkeetna River is expected to reach flood stage any time now and will likely crest over night. It may rise three to four feet above flood stage and could inundate low-lying areas, said Larry Rundquist with NOAA's Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center.
Montana Creek is above flood stage, but so far no homes are threatened.
Brodigan activated the Borough's Emergency Operations Center at noon today.
Red Cross is opening a shelter at the Willow Community Center.
More updates will be forthcoming when information is available.
Contact Patty Sullivan at 355-0103 and check the Web site www.matsugov.us