ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Flooding is common throughout Alaska, whether from flowing waters of rivers, streams and coastal storms or, as happened during Thanksgiving along the Bodenburg Creek in Butte, from deep ice buildup forcing water to overflow the bank.
“While the recent flooding along Bodenburg Creek was unusual in a historical sense, ice jam flooding in Alaska is not unusual,” said Christy Miller, Alaska Floodplain Manager. “The bottom line is that individuals who live within 100 feet of moving water are at risk for flooding, including coastal communities where severe storms and erosion cause flooding of low or susceptible areas.”
There are a number of protective measures to take to avoid flood damage. Determine how high flood waters are likely to get on your land and in what direction and speed the water is likely to flow.
Move outdoor storage and parking above the potential flood water level whenever possible. Securely anchor buoyant items such as oil and propane tanks, or firewood stacks to keep them from floating away. Do not store trash or waste where it may be reached by flood waters. Install backflow prevention valves in septic lines and locate outhouses on the higher ground above flood levels. Seal or raise the tops of well casings and monitoring tubes. Raise generators, pumps, electrical outlets, appliances, stands and shelving above water levels. Make sure pets can reach safety above flood waters without help.
Thirty-two of Alaska’s cities and boroughs participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These communities have access to flood maps that can help businesses, homeowners, or renters determine if they are in a flood plain.
FEMA and the State of Alaska offer several resources for information about flood risk and flood protection. A list of NFIP communities can be found on FEMA’s Floodsmart Web site at www.floodsmart.gov. Click on What’s Your Flood Risk, enter your address, click on View a List of Communities Participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, and click Alaska. Individuals may also go to the state’s Web site at www.commerce.state.ak.us, or call the State’s Floodplain Manager at 269-4583.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with State and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.