Rosie Creek area of Fairbanks experiences flooding

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 10:47 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Roads have flooded in the Rosie Creek area of Fairbanks due to a rise in the water level of the Tanana River.

Low-lying streets, including Perkins Drive, Melanie Lane, and Chief John Drive, which run downstream from where the Chena meets the Tanana River, have seen the way blocked for most traffic. However, there are some trails that lead in and out of the affected area.

This flooding is being caused by heavy rain in the Alaska Range, which feeds many of the Tanana River’s tributaries.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), water began flooding into the road system on Tuesday, August 29, and as of Thursday, August 31 the water is as high as eight to 14 inches in some places.

The water could rise even higher as the rain continues into the weekend.

Ed Plumb, Service Hydrologist with NWS Fairbanks, explained, “We’re expecting more rain in the Alaska Range into Saturday, and so we’re going to continue to see the Tanana River running high through the weekend.”

“We’re expecting the water to stay near the same level or even climb up a little bit with that additional rainfall,” he said, adding, “We would expect it to start going down early next week.”

Glacial runoff also contributes to the rise in water level. As a result of these factors, flooding activity can be seen in spots from Delta Junction to Nenana.

Travelers on flooded roads are advised not to drive into water if its depth is unknown. In addition to the risk of flooding one’s car and driving into unseen potholes, the roads may have eroded under the silty Tanana water.

Those traveling on the river should also exercise caution. “If you’re floating or you’re on or near any rivers, you just need to be really careful. There’s going to be a lot of increased debris in the rivers, like logs, sticks, bushes, and things like that, and also the river’s going to be flowing faster than normal, and there may not be places to pull out easily, either, to get off the river, if you’re in a boat,” said Plumb.

According to Plumb, Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Management is aware of the issue and is monitoring the situation.

As of August 31, there have been no reports of houses flooding or people trapped in their homes.