Governor issues disaster declaration as flooding evacuations underway in Western Alaska

A state of emergency has been declared in Crooked Creek after extreme flooding in the area.
Published: May. 14, 2023 at 4:03 PM AKDT
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CIRCLE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration for communities along the Kuskokwim River and Yukon River, as well as Glennallen and Copper River areas.

Mark Roberts, incident commander for the State Emergency Operations Center, said major flooding was reported in the communities of Crooked Creek and Circle, citing information from the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. An ice jam on the Kuskokwim River is causing water to pour into Crooked Creek. People are sheltering at a school as water levels have been fluctuating.

The Kuskokwim River watch team landed in Crooked Creek Saturday and worked with community leaders throughout the night, according to the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The Kuskokwim River watch team has been working with the State Emergency Operations Center, Alaska State Troopers, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, Alaska National Guard and Alaska Village Council Presidents.

Donlin Gold employees have also been helping with flood victims in the Crooked Creek area. A helicopter used for mining exploration has been flying people stuck in flooded waters to safety at a school shelter, said Donlin Gold External Affairs Manager Kristina Woolston. There have been more than 20 workers from Donlin Gold helping people in flooded areas Saturday into Sunday, Woolston said.

The mining exploration helicopter also flew mechanics into the Crooked Creek area to restore power to the school shelter and make sure drinking water was flowing, according to Woolston.

A 90-mile ice run is pushing past Circle causing major flooding there. Circle residents have moved to higher ground and the community activated their flood plan, the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reported.

The Upper Yukon River watch team was in the air Sunday to provide updates to Ciricle and Fort Yukon.

The flooding occurring around Glennallen is not caused by an ice jam but by snow melt swelling Moose Creek.

There have been no reports of injuries due to overall flooding across the state Saturday into Sunday.