The Kenai Peninsula Borough issued an emergency declaration Thursday to ask for state assistance in recovering from ongoing flooding that has damaged homes and roads near the Kenai River.
The flooding began last week when glacier-dammed lakes burst and caused water levels to rapidly rise. Water levels were already high before then due to recent rainfall.
Water levels began to recede Friday in portions of the upper Kenai River but remained elevated toward the middle of the river, said Brenda Ahlberg, an emergency manager for the borough. The river crested at over 15 feet Wednesday below Skilak Lake, according to the weather service.
The river isn’t expected to drop below flood level until Sunday, and a flood warning remains in place below Skilak Lake until that afternoon.
Homes near Kenai Keys Road in Sterling, Salmon Run Drive in Funny River and neighborhoods adjacent to Kalifornsky Beach Road were among the areas impacted this week by flooding, Ahlberg said. In total, there are about 613 homes affected by the flooding, she said.
No evacuations have occurred, and Ahlberg said many residents are waiting out the high waters in their homes.
Damage assessments were beginning late this week in areas where water levels had gone down, she said. Some roads were underwater for an extended period of time and were saturated and damaged by the water, Ahlberg said. No public buildings were damaged.
Borough Mayor Peter Micciche on Thursday declared a state of emergency due to the flooding. The declaration is a formal request for state assistance. If approved by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, it could also open up an individual assistance program that provides financial help to homeowners who need to make repairs because of the flooding, Ahlberg said.
Farther north, high water levels were also causing damage this week near Talkeetna. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough declared a local emergency Tuesday because of ongoing erosion along the Susitna River.