Alaska March 21, 2019
Many Alaskans Don’t Remember The Craziest Break Up Season Ever
Alaska break up is a pretty famous thing. Most of us are used to “the mud season,” and go about our daily lives, somewhat inconvenienced by the transition from winter to spring. However, Alaskans who live next to large rivers have a much larger worry when the spring thaw comes. In 2009, that worry was well founded, when the town of Eagle, Alaska was flooded so badly that residents had to be evacuated.
In the winter of 2008-2009, Alaska received record breaking snowfall all over the state.
Snowfall doubled in many areas of Alaska. On the banks of Eagle, Alaska, the Yukon River ice was measured at 55 inches thick. This was a measurement of more than 40% of its usual depth!
The cold persisted late into spring, so the snowpack didn't slowly melt the way it usually does.
In early May, when there was a series of record breaking warm days, the high water levels and ice dams resulted in terrible flooding. On May 4th, an ice jam was created only 10 miles north of Eagle.
The Yukon River, which was now running very high, quickly flooded the town of Eagle.
There were huge chunks of ice that flowed up and over the town's retaining wall. These chunks of ice rammed into the homes and storefronts of Eagle.
The floodwaters even lifted some buildings off of their foundations.
The town of 120 residents were at a loss. The nearby Alaska Native settlement of Eagle Village was also flooded and almost completely destroyed by the huge chunks of ice.
National Park Service employees were some of the first responders to help get food and supplies to the flooded residents of Eagle.
Within days Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management arrived to help take over some of the relief effort. Governor Sarah Palin declared the flooded areas to be disaster areas on May 6th, and by the 7th the National Park Service helicopters were checking in on those residents on rural, private homesteads.
Fairbanks residents were incredibly impressive during this disaster.
Knowing at least 30 of the 120 residents were homeless, private donations poured in from Fairbanks citizens. Over 10,500 pounds of relief supplies were donated by Alaskans. In fact, the airline that offered to carry the supplies to Eagle were completely overwhelmed by the support!
Do you remember this historic break up flood? Did you know anyone who lived through this? Let us know your story in the comments below!
Have you ever done
This 100-Year Old-Alaska Tradition That’s Truly Unlike Anything Else? A much more lighthearted take on how breakup usually goes!