Boating Closed on Rising Kenai River

Flooding Reported in Some Areas
Shaylon Cochran


     Flood waters have begun to recede in Seward and points north, but the National Weather Service has extended its flood warning for the Kenai River until Thursday. Flooding along the Kenai has been reported in several areas and forced road closures and evacuations.
     Reports of moderate flooding along the river near Cooper Landing came in Monday morning, when the Kenai crested at sixteen feet, where it is expected to remain until sometime Tuesday.  
     The National Weather Service’s measurements Monday anticipated the river would crest at 12-1/2 feet in Soldotna, where flood stage is twelve feet.  All of this after a long weekend surveying damage and assessing what could come next, says Kenai Peninsula Borough spokesperson Brenda Ahlberg.
     Ahlberg says residents in several areas - including Cooper Landing, Big Eddy and Kenai Keys - were either evacuating or preparing to evacuate.
     She says crews were able to make some progress near the Exit Glacier and Old Mill areas closer to Seward.
     "Those levess ... are starting to hold," she said. "We've got another crew going down ... to evaluate the mitigation efforts."
     The Borough’s main focus now, Ahlberg says, is on erosion in areas near the Kenai and Anchor Rivers.  The Department of Natural Resources closed the Kenai River to all boating Monday afternoon.  Ahlberg says they’ve been working closely with state agencies to coordinate relief or mitigation efforts and will continue to do so in the days ahead.
     The National Weather Service is predicting the river will continue to rise over the next thirty-six to forty-eight hours.  The rate of rise on the lower river was anticipated to slow by late Monday with a very broad crest expected.  Ahlberg says the Borough has fielded just a few calls for assistance with self-evacuation.
      "More than ever ... neighbors are helping neighbors," she said.
     She says the flooding and heavy rainfall have affected some wells in the area, and cautions residents who have experienced flooding to boil or treat that water before use.  
     The weather service’s flood warning for the Kenai River is in effect until 5 p.m.Thursday.