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No flood measures were taken after latest downpour

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Posted: Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:13 am | Updated: 8:56 am, Sun Jun 29, 2014.

FAIRBANKS — An overnight downpour delivered another heavy dose of rain to the Fairbanks area on Saturday, but not enough to spur officials to activate the Chena Flood Control Project for the second time in a week.

Heavy rainfall on Friday night and early Saturday delivered an official dose of four-tenths of an inch of precipitation at Fairbanks International Airport, although some outlying areas received considerably more. It added to an already soggy June that will end up among the wettest ever recorded in the area.

The rains caused the Chena River to rise into the minor flood stage overnight, but the Army Corps of Engineers elected not to close flood gates when it became clear the river had already reached its high point and was on the way back down.

“The water began receding early (Saturday) morning, so we didn’t need to regulate it,” said Jacob Kresel, senior ranger at the Chena Flood Control Project.

In downtown Fairbanks, the river was high enough to swamp streetlights and bike paths next to the river. Property owners along the Chena between Fairbanks and North Pole also reported minor flooding along the riverbank in their areas.

According to forecasters, drier weather should give those waters a chance to recede in the days ahead. Only sparse precipitation is projected through Monday, with warmer temperatures rising into the 70s.

“The heaviest stuff is done, but we’re still looking at scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms for a few days,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Christopher Cox.

It’s still unclear whether the most recent downpour will make June the wettest ever recorded in Fairbanks. Cox said some equipment glitches may have caused errors while recording this June’s rainfall totals, and that officials are working this weekend to make sure that precipitation has been tallied correctly.

Cox said unofficial totals have put this June into a virtual tie with the wettest ever, when 3.55 inches of rain fell in 1949.

Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMbusiness.

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