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2016 August Monthly Report


Highlights

The heavy rain generated a mudslide, which closed the Denali Park Road at mile 67 on July 30th. It was cleared enough to partially reopen on August 1st. The road did not fully re-open until the 9th. Barrow experienced its first sunset on August 1st. The localized flooding that has afflicted areas near Fairbanks continued into August, while flooding across the Chena Hot Springs Road was reported at mile 36 on the 1st. Flood advisories were issued for streams and rivers in the Fairbanks and White Mountains areas due to the heavy rain in the area on the 1st, and these advisories were extended until the 3rd. The Tanana River crested at Fairbanks on the 1st.

The Moose Creek Dam near Fairbanks, which had restarted operations on July 30th, ceased operations again on the 8th. Water levels receded slowly as the lake created behind the dam was drained into the Chena River. The river crested at Fairbanks on the 2nd at 10,200 cubic feet per second and 9.54 feet. For the summer, the dam conducted operations two different times for a total of 15 days. The closures created a lake three miles long and up 21 feet deep. This is the most days in a summer for dam operations after the record for operations set in 1992.

The Tanana River again approached bankfull at Fairbanks on the 9th. Warnings for possible flooding for low-lying areas were issued. Limited flooding along local roads was reported in Anchorage on the 9th due to record rainfall. The heavy rainfall in the Southcentral area resulted in minor flooding along the Yentna River also on the 9th, and continued for a couple days. The Taiya River crested at above flood stage on the 14th, but continued at above flood stage the next day. Flood watches were issued for areas north of the western Brooks Range on the 19th until the 22nd after heave rains impacted the area, flooding areas along the Kelly River and Aggie Creek.

The Fairbanks River Regatta, delayed since July due to high water on the Chena River, was held on the 12th. Similarly, the Rubber Ducky Race, also delayed from July, was finally held on the 21st. Flooding was again reported on Chena Hot Springs Road on the 21st. Flood advisories were issued for streams and rivers around Seward on the 22nd due to more than one inch of rainfall in the area, as well as for the Yentna River that again crested above flood stage.

Gale force winds forced the closure of some rides and blew away some tents at the Palmer State Fair on the 30th. The winds also knocked out power for 5,000 MEA customers. The weather with clear skies allowed frost to hit some areas on the Interior on the 31st with Salcha river reporting a low of 22°F. The same day some areas around Anchorage reported freezing.

At the start of the August there had been one staffed wildfire, and about 520 total fires for an overall area burned of 486,000 acres. By the end of the month, those numbers had reached 500,000 acres and 543 fires. There were no staffed fires. With the low fire activity and wet weather, after mid-month Alaska firefighters were being sent out of state to help fight fires in areas such as Idaho and Oregon.