Alaska River Flooding from Snowmelt Sweeps Away One Home

June 3, 2022

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — One home was swept away by a raging river, with several other homes and cabins lining the Copper River in eastern Alaska also in danger of being lost because of the eroding riverbank, officials said Wednesday.

The flooding is occurring in the unincorporated area of Copperville, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of Anchorage. The flooding is from the snowmelt in the mountains after temperatures warmed up, Jeremy Zidek, a spokesperson for the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, told The Associated Press.

The home that was lost Monday was a secondary residence. Resident Daniel Chappell captured the home being carried away by the river and shared the video with Anchorage television station KTUU.

“It doesn’t look like the river’s going to make any changes to our advantage, so we don’t know exactly what to do at this point,” he told KTUU.

The river has been eroding the river bank several feet a day.

“Thirty-some years I’ve been living here and nothing like this has ever occurred so it’s just taking a little to get my mind wrapped around,” Chappell said.

Two other homes with full-time residents also sit near the bank. One was a trailer with other structures attached, which has been disassembled and moved further bank onto the bank, Zidek said.

The other home with full-time residents has some riverbank left but he was unsure what the homeowner’s plan was.

About four other structures in danger are recreational cabins or vacation properties.

The snowmelt had earlier caused flooding on Moose and other creeks in the nearby community of Glennallen, Zidek told the AP.

When temperatures were cooler, it allowed the snow to melt slowly during the day and with it cooler at night, it slowed the process, he said. But the melting quickened once temperatures hit the 60s and 70s.

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