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Photos: Yukon River breakup floods Alaska villages

Flooding hit Circle on Sunday, May 19, affecting all homes and most of the buildings in the Interior community.
Courtesy Scott Lindsay
An aerial view of flooding damage in Circle, May 19, 2013
Courtesy Scott Lindsay
An aerial view of damage to the Interior community of Circle, hit by major flooding on May 19, 2013
Courtesy Scott Lindsay
Flooding and ice breaking up damages buildings in the Yukon river village of Eagle. May 17, 2013
Courtesy Ed Christensen
Flooding and ice breaking up damages buildings in the Yukon river village of Eagle. May 17, 2013
Pat Sanders / NPS
Massive ice chunks destroy a boat launch in Eagle in mid-May 2013.
Pat Sanders | NPS
Flooding in Circle, May 19 2013.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
Flooding damage in Circle, May 19, 2013.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
Damage in Circle, May 19, 2013 after the Yukon River flooded the Interior community.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
Flooding in Circle, May 19 2013.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
Flooding in Circle, May 19 2013.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
A damaged cabin after flooding in Circle, May 19, 2013.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
Ice chunks washed up on shore in Circle after the Yukon River flooded the town on May 19.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
Ice washed up on shore after major flooding hit Circle, May 19, 2013.
Courtesy Kurt Schmidt
An aerial view of flooding in Circle, May 19 2013.
Courtesy Alaska State Trooper Andrew Neason
An aerial view of flooding in Circle, May 19, 2013.
Courtesy Alaska State Trooper Andrew Neason
An aerial view of flooding in Circle, May 19, 2013
Courtesy Alaska State Trooper Andrew Neason
An aerial view of buildings flooded in Circle on May 19, 2013
Courtesy Alaska State Trooper Andrew Neason
Alaska Dispatch

After a late spring, breakup began in mid-May along the ice-clogged Yukon River, causing flooding in Alaska villages, including Circle and Eagle.

On May 19, major flooding hit the Interior Alaska community of Circle as the Yukon’s water levels rose rapidly and soaked nearly every building in the town.  “The water came up at least 5 to 8 feet very rapidly this morning,” said Jeremy Zidek, public information officer for Alaska’s Division of Homeland Security. “The waters are beginning to recede pretty quickly now.”

Two days earlier, residents upriver in the village of Eagle were reflecting how they were better prepared for this spring's breakup than in 2009, when flood waters devasted the community.

The ice started moving at about 12:30 a.m. May 17, according to the National Weather Service. Then, at about 3 a.m., the ice jammed some 12 miles downriver at an area called the Calico Bluffs. Flooding occurred throughout the night, but started to recede at about 6 a.m., said Robin Radlein, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

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