Update, 6:25 p.m.: Chugach Electric reports that 111 customers in Tyonek and Granite Point have been without power since morning. "The outage was caused by a large cottonwood tree that fell from along the bank of the rain-swollen Chuitna River into the line where it crosses the river. Current has moved the tree out into the river. Chugach will not be able to attempt restoration before morning," Chugach spokesman Phil Steyer wrote in an email.
Update, 6:15 p.m.: The Mat-Su Borough has posted a map showing roads closed as of 4 p.m. Thursday. --------------
Update, 5:45 p.m.: The Houston Fire Department says water in the Enchanted Forest subdivision is rising and people there may be encouraged to evacuate, according to the Mat-Su Borough.-
Elementary, middle and high school is canceled in Seward on Friday. The Moose Pass School will be open.
The City of Seward says its water system remains intact despite storm conditions. Two potable water sites are available for personal use containers at the RV dump stations on 7th Avenue and Ballaine Boulevard, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
-------------- Update, 3:45 p.m.: The National Weather Service's river forecasting center says the worst may be over for the flood-stricken Mat-Su and Seward areas. Hydrologist David Strubel said that small rivers and streams in Mat-Su area, such as Willow Creek and Montana Creek, have crested.
One big exception: The Talkeetna River may rise overnight.
In Seward, more rain is expected throughout the afternoon but river and stream levels have dropped in morning hours, Strubel said.
Update, 2:40 p.m.: The state Department of Transportation says there are no closures to the Parks Highway or Seward Highway as of 2:30 p.m., but standing water is on the roadway in some areas.At mile 3.5 of the Seward Highway, just outside of Seward, the water is about a foot deep, said DOT spokesman Rick Feller. Smaller cars are advised not to try to pass through the area, Feller said. Larger vehicles and trucks should have no problem, he said.
Update, 2:30 p.m.: The latest from the Matanuska and Susitna valleys, from the Mat-Su Borough Facebook page: In Wasilla, North Welch Way is impassable and Moose Meadows Road is now closed due to erosion.
Emergency managers are looking at homes in the Skwentna River for a possible evacuation of 10 households.
The Matanuska and Knik rivers are running high and land near them is saturated with water. There is a potential for mudslides.
Update, 1:15 p.m.:
An update on river levels from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough's frequently updated Facebook page:
Willow Creek is at major flood stage and is about a foot away from crossing the Parks Highway as of 12:30 p.m., according to borough spokeswoman Patty Sullivan.
Moderate flood stage is reported at Yentna River at Lake Creek and Montana Creek at the Parks Highway.
Minor flood stage is reported at the Little Su River at Hatcher Pass Bridge, Willow Creek near Willow, Moose Creek at Oilwell Road, and Talkeetna River at the Railroad Bridge.
Update, 11:50 a.m.:
An East Talkeetna subdivision of about 30 homes is being evacuated.
The Talkeetna River Subdivision, near Beaver and Mercedes roads, is vulnerable to flooding.
The district fire chief is knocking on doors advising people to leave right away, said Mat-Su Borough spokeswoman Patti Sullivan.
Homes to the north of Beaver Road are at the highest risk.
The Talkeetna River rose a foot Thursday morning, Sullivan said.
About five residents advised to evacuate from the Willow Creek area from Shirley Town Road to the Parks Highway sought shelter at the Willow Community Center Wednesday night, said a Red Cross representative.
It's not clear exactly how many people or homes are in that evacuation area, Sullivan said.
A shelter manager said 25 people were expected Thursday night.
The American Red Cross has established shelters in Mat-Su at the Willow Community Center, Upper Susitna Senior Center near Talkeetna and Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla.
- Michelle Theriault Boots
Update, 11:05 a.m.:
More on that rescue north of Wasilla last night:
Ten people and eight animals were rescued overnight from a flash flood at Lucille Street and Seldon Road in Wasilla.
When rescuers arrived around midnight they found a man in waist-deep water in a cul-de-sac holding his dog, said Mat-Su Borough spokeswoman Carol Vardeman. Water quickly rose to 6 feet deep.
Rescuers took people and animals out by raft, a process that took about two hours.
Five houses were flooded and five people walked out on their own, according to the borough.
There is no existing creek in the area, Vardeman said.
- Michelle Theriault Boots
Update, 10:40 a.m.:
Poor road conditions in Seward improved somewhat overnight but with more rain on the way and the tide coming in, flooding remains a problem, city managers said this morning.
At 10 a.m. it was raining steadily, said John Foutz of the City of Seward.
It is now possible to drive from Safeway, on the Seward Highway coming in to town, to downtown without encountering too much standing water on roadways, he said.
But subdivisions were still swamped and some roads, like Nash Road, Exit Glacier Road and Lowell Point Road, remain closed.
The Seward Highway at Mile 3 is limited to one lane of traffic due to standing water.
Widespread power outages haven't been a problem, Fouz said, but that may change as an expected additional 2 inches of rain falls Thursday.
As of Thursday no mandatory evacuations for low-lying subdivisions have been announced. Ten people stayed overnight in a shelter at Seward High School, Foutz said.
People seem to be hunkering down and staying inside, he said.
"I think some folks out there are a little frustrated because of road closures," he said. "But people, particularly Seward residents, are used to this."
- Michelle Theriault Boots
Update, 10:30 a.m.:
The Mat-Su Borough reports nine people were rescued by raft last night from high water north of Wasilla:
Nine people were rescued from a flash flood by raft outside Wasilla last night near midnight. A 911 call was placed for a flood in an unexpected location, Seldon and Lucille roads, where no identified stream is located. The water was waist-deep in the home when the call was made.
When Central Fire Responders arrived they found a man pushing through waist-deep water holding his dog. By the time responders deployed their boats the water was chest-deep, soon after, over six feet deep. Rescuers paddled nine people to safety. MEA was contacted, power was turned off.
Update, 8 a.m.: Continued rain has led to flooding and high water across Southcentral Alaska this morning, particularly in the Susitna Valley and the Seward area.
A number of secondary roads are closed in the Su Valley, including near Willow and Montana creeks. The Parks Highway remains open.
A flood warning remains in place for the Susitna Valley until 6 p.m.
On Wednesday night, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough advised residents living along Willow Creek from Shirley Town Road to the Parks Highway to evacuate. It wasn't immediately clear how many homes were involved or how many people had actually evacuated.
The borough reported that Hatcher Pass Road at Mile 26 had washed out. Among the roads closed are Yoder Road at the Montana Creek Bridge, where water was reported 1.5 feet over the road, and Oilwell Road in several spots in the Petersville area. A full list of Mat-Su road closures and other updated info is here.
Red Cross shelters have been set up the Menard Sports Complex in Wasilla, Willow Community Center and Upper Susitna Senior Center.
In Seward, where an emergency was declared by the city on Wednesday afternoon because of flooded streets, schools were canceled Thursday and the area remains under a flood warning. Several roads in the area were reported closed and one of two runways at the airport was flooded, although the Seward Highway remained open.
The National Weather Service reported the Resurrection River at the Exit Glacier bridge crested Wednesday evening at 20 feet, which is considered "major flood stage." Grouse Creek near Seward crested as well. "Both crests exceeded the October 2006 event and are floods of record," the Weather Service reported. Other drainages in the Seward area are expected to crest on Thursday.
Additional rain is expected in Seward through the day Thursday, the Weather Service said.
A flood watch is in effect for the Kenai River from Kenai lake to the mouth of the river.
In Eagle River, about 1,700 customers were without power on Thursday morning, the Matanuska Electric Association reported.
In Anchorage, a flood advisory remains in place through Friday, with the Weather Service reporting many streams reaching their banks and minor flood stage.
-- David Hulen
Wednesday brought another windstorm and a thorough soaking to much of Southcentral Alaska, causing flight diversions, flooding and scattered power outages.
The storm was expected to subside by Thursday morning, said the National Weather Service.
As of about 6 p.m., the highest wind speed recorded was at 86 mph at Paradise Valley, above Potter Marsh.
Winds stayed at higher elevations, the Weather Service said, and damage to low-lying areas was minimal.
Anchorage Fire Department dispatchers said they received only a handful of weather-related emergency calls Wednesday.
Cargo and commercial flights were canceled or diverted at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport due to the weather, with some waiting out the storm in Fairbanks.
Utilities reported scattered power outages in the Anchorage area and Matanuska Valley through the day.
The outages were caused by downed trees, said Chugach Electric spokesman Phil Steyer.
At the peak, about 2,000 Chugach customers were without power. By 7 p.m. the number was down to 250 or so, he said.
Swollen creeks threatened to spill over roadways in the Susitna Valley, and volunteer firefighters cleared nearly a dozen snapped trees off of roadways in Butte, Mat-Su Borough emergency managers said. A levee across Montana Creek was so eroded by rain that crews rushed a truckload of rocks to reinforce it.
The city manager in Seward declared a state of emergency after the town was swamped with 5.34 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Landslides cut off Lowell Point Road for a few hours, and water across the Seward Highway and many smaller roads made travel treacherous and difficult.
School was canceled Thursday for elementary, middle and high school students in Seward.
As of Thursday night no Seward neighborhoods had been evacuated due to flooding concerns but people choosing to leave their homes could sleep at a temporary shelter set up at Seward High School.
Cordova and Valdez, both hit hard by recent storms, received a comparatively paltry 1-2 inches of rain Wednesday.
But the precipitation hammering the area from Seward to Talkeetna was due to move to eastern Prince William Sound in the coming days, said NWS forecaster Eddie Zingone.
Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at email@example.com or 257-4344.