Warmer weather means flood season in Fairbanks

Melting snow means that flooding season will soon arrive in Fairbanks (File photo)
Melting snow means that flooding season will soon arrive in Fairbanks (File photo)(Jordan Rodenberger/KTVF)
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 4:17 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After a record 183 days of temperatures in Fairbanks staying under 40°, spring finally seems to arrived - but warmer temperatures can cause flooding as snow melts.

“We get a lot of localized snow melt flooding because people berm up their snow on the side of the roads,” said Karen Endres, the Senior Service Hydrologist at the Fairbanks National Weather Service. “The water can’t get into the drainage ditches and then it floods over onto the road, or into your driveways or your yards.”

Endres said there are ways to avoid or at least minimize this type of flooding though: “Make sure the snow berms are not blocking drainage paths, clean out culverts so that the water can go down the natural paths that it goes.”

Melting snow causing localized flooding is not the only type of flooding the Interior experiences though. Endres said that all the snow melt can cause flooding in the rivers during spring, but they can also flood during the rainy season “which is August normally, although in the past years it’s been a little bit earlier. So we get two types of flooding and they both happen within a couple months of each other here in the Interior.”

For flooding rivers, Endres said the easiest way to stay safe is not go into the water. “If you are driving and you come across a road that has water over it, do not drive through that water, do not go into flowing water as you are walking.”

She also said that people who live in flood-prone areas should ensure that they don’t store personal property in low spots.

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