Seward Area Hit by Severe Flooding Due to Heavy Rain, Winds

October 6, 2020

KENAI, Alaska — The Seward area of Alaska experienced severe flooding as heavy rain and high winds hit the area over the weekend, officials said.

Heavy equipment operators spent Friday and Saturday repairing berms along area waterways that were damaged or washed away as a result of rising waters, The Peninsula Clarion reported Saturday.

No major damage, injuries or evacuations were reported Saturday.

“Seward experiences a lot of flooding events, especially this time of year, but this one has come on fast and has led to water levels higher than we’ve seen in recent memory,” Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Manager Dan Nelson said.

Berm repairs were required along Sawmill Creek, Salmon Creek, Lost Creek, Japanese Creek and Kwechak Creek, Nelson said.

The borough posted a social media video Saturday of an Office of Emergency Management employee displaying the extent of flooding and levee deterioration at Kwechak Creek, which prompted the office to alert nearby residents to prepare for possible evacuation.

“Yesterday this was all the way, bank to bank, and much higher than it was now,” Bud Sexton of the emergency management office said in the video showing how large areas of the levee were washed away.

Nelson said the rain that continued through Saturday made the work more difficult for the equipment operators.

“The frustrating thing is losing all the work that you’ve done overnight,” Nelson said. “You can come back to an area in the morning that you spent the whole day repairing, and it’s like you didn’t do any work at all.”

Seward is located in an alluvial fan in which gravel and sediment constantly accumulate in waterways while flowing down from higher altitudes.

The main goal of the equipment operators was to remove excess sediment from the waterways while also building up berms that are eroding as flooding occurs, Nelson said.

Seward residents should continue monitoring conditions, especially those living near a creek or body of water, and be prepared to evacuate if necessary, Nelson said.

“Make sure you have a full tank of gas and a bag packed,” Nelson said.

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