The National Weather Service Fairbanks office has issued a flood watch effective noon Tuesday for the Chena Basin area upstream of Moose Creek Dam — including Fairbanks — which will last until late tonight. This is in addition to the flood watch already issued by NWS for the Denali area, which was effective 6 a.m. Tuesday and will last until through noon today.
“Flooding could inundate Chena Hot Springs Road near mile marker 37,” the flood watch notice states. “Campgrounds and boat launches in the Chena recreation area could also be inundated by rising water. Gravel bars will be submerged, and interests along the river should remain vigilant for rising water.”
According to the flood watch notice, the “greatest rainfall totals are expected on the north side of the Alaska Range and Chena Basin” and that 1-1½ inches of rainfall is expected through today with up to 2 inches expected locally in the Alaska Range west of Healy. The Chena River will experience the most significant rise, with waters expected to “crest near minor flood stage” upstream of Moose Creek Dam today and near Fairbanks on Thursday.
An NWS forecaster said that the level of rainfall that the area is experiencing is still considered “normal,” though another heavy bout toward the end of the week could result in further flood warnings. Locals are advised to keep an eye out for updates, especially prior to making travel plans.
All other Interior rivers, including the Chatanika and Salcha, will see rises over the next few days and are expected to remain high through the weekend. Rising waters along rivers draining the Brooks Range — including the Koyukuk and Jim Rivers upstream of Bettles — are expected through today.
Climatologist Brian Brettschneider tweeted that, as of Tuesday morning, Fairbanks had already “moved into 8th place for the wettest full August on record.”
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.