Rains could send rivers rising fast in eastern Interior

FAIRBANKS -- Additional flooding is in the forecast later this week for the upper Chena River as well as the Salcha and Goodpaster rivers in Interior Alaska, the National Weather Service said Monday.

Heavy rain is expected Monday night through Tuesday night over much of the eastern Interior from a storm moving into the region that could drop up to 4 inches of rain in places. Because the soil near many river systems is already saturated from the heavy rain over the last two weeks, rapid increases in water levels are likely, the weather office said.

The heaviest rain, up to 4 inches, could be west of the Tok Cutoff and along the eastern Alaska Range. Denali National Park could see about 1 to 2 inches near the Parks Highway and from one-quarter inch to 1 inch over the central and western portions of the park.

"Rainfall from the two recent events has saturated the ground. The additional heavy rainfall will likely bring the upper Chena, Salcha and Goodpaster rivers close to flood stage Wednesday through Thursday night," the weather service said. "High water levels and floating debris will create hazardous conditions for boaters. Gravel bars on the rivers may be inundated.

The upper Tanana and 40-Mile Country could get up to 3 inches in spots.

The rain could also cause rapid rises in the level of small streams in the eastern Alaska Range from Monday through Wednesday. If you are planning a trip to the backcountry, don't camp near rivers and streams or on gravel bars, forecasters said.

Alaska Dispatch News