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.