Water rises on Yukon River near Ruby and threatens cabins

May 12, 2010 

FAIRBANKS -- Rising water on the Yukon River was threatening several cabins and fish camps between Ruby and Galena.

The Alaska River Watch program issued flood advisories for the area. It also issued one for the Kuskokwim River near Red Devil, but later canceled it.

The ice jam causing the water to rise is just upstream of Galena. The National Weather Service said Tuesday the river there is at a level not seen in four decades.

The Yukon spans more than 1,260 miles through Alaska's Interior to the Bering Sea. Temperatures in the region fall below minus 40 degrees, making for thick river ice most years. A year ago, ice breakup caused floods that devastated the village of Eagle and heavily damaged others.

John Madden, director of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the conditions this spring are not the same as those which led to the historic flooding of 2009. The snow pack holds a fraction of the water it did last year, winter temperatures have been warmer, river ice is not as thick and spring temperatures have not created a sudden melt.

"These conditions have led to a below average flood forecast, and thus far we have not seen destructive flooding," Madden said.

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