Neighborhood submerged: A look at the Tanana River flooding

A car is seen almost fully underwater off of Perkins Drive. The area flooded after the Tanana...
A car is seen almost fully underwater off of Perkins Drive. The area flooded after the Tanana River spilled it's banks on Wednesday morning. (John Dougherty/KTVF) (KTVF)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 5:13 PM AKDT
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Record high rainfall across Interior Alaska has caused rivers to rise. Early Wednesday morning the Tanana River spilled its banks near the Rosie Creek neighborhood causing houses to flood, cars to be submerged and residents to leave the area.

Perkins Drive faced the brunt of the flooding. Resident Travis Cloud said that Wednesday, around 6 a.m., they noticed the river starting to rise, by 8 a.m. the roads were flooded. He said he spent the day helping get people out of the area in his canoe.

"Help in anyway you can, you know, my landlord has this canoe, been just trying to like ferry people with some stuff. Just check in with people and make sure they have food and water and power. Trying to fill need where you can," Could said.

The area is accustom to flooding, but residents say this is worse than usual. "Been hearing lots of stories from all the neighbors, they say this is a once in 20 year flood, a once in 50 year flood, once in a lifetime flood because it hasn't gotten up this high," Cloud said.

The road is under four feet of water in some places. While many residents have left for higher ground, some decided to stay. They have been using canoes and kayaks to get to and from their homes and bring in food and water. John Jackson has lived in the area for 25 years and decided to rent a bulldozer to get to his house.

"House is good. Road's bad," Jackson said. He built his house up on a pad so it has not flooded, but he is worried about getting in and out. He said he wishes the borough would raise the road around the area in case of an emergency. He said he called 911 and asked them how they planned to get to his house if there was an emergency.

The Chena Goldstream Fire Department did have crews going house to house on Wednesday making sure there was no one stranded in their houses.

Cloud said he enjoys living on the banks of the Tanana because the fishing is good, but after this, he is thinking about moving somewhere else. Until then, he and other residents have been working together to keep each other safe.

The National Weather Service said the Tanana River has crested and water levels are slowly receding. However, they say that the flooding won’t have ended until the later on the weekend.

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