Southeast Alaska’s “wettest day” is causing floods and mudslides


Jessica Flores

| USA ma

Evacuation and search and rescue efforts took place on Wednesday after a massive storm swept across southeast Alaska, causing mudslides and widespread flooding.

Several rainfall records were broken in the region on Tuesday, including a one-day rainfall record from 1946, according to data from the National Meteorological Service in June.

“[Tuesday] it was the wettest day we recorded at our meteorological stations at Skagway, Haines and Juneau airports, “meteorologist Aaron Jacobs told TODAY USA, adding that 30-40 inches of snow fell in some areas.

Haines, a community of about 2,000 people in northern Alaska’s Panhandle, was among the most devastated cities. Alaska’s Department of Homeland Security said six people were missing and four homes were destroyed by midnight on Wednesday morning.

The day went down in 2020 in this Alaskan city: The “polar night” results in 66 days of darkness in America’s northernmost city.

The Alaskan U.S. Coast Guard sent a helicopter and boat to Haines after several reports of mud slips.

Mayor Douglas Olerud declared a weather emergency early Wednesday after several roads were washed, blocked or flooded.

Olerud told the U.S. on Wednesday that the rainfall has caused about “a few million dollars” in damage to roads and infrastructure so far.

“It’s been a long day,” Olerud said in tears on the phone. “I’ve lived here my whole life, except I went to college and worked in the south for a few years. It’s the biggest nationwide disaster I’ve ever seen in the city.”

Twitteren, Alaskan Governor Mike Dunleavy has pledged to support the state.

“My emergency response team is monitoring the natural disaster in Haines and the wider southeast,” Dunleavy said. “The state EOC is coordinating operations and search and rescue teams have been mobilized.

Olerud said state and local crews worked all day to prevent the destruction of roads and homes. Residents pounded into their garden with a shovel and any equipment, he said.

“When you live in a small community and everyone gathers and walks in, it means a special place to live,” he said.

According to the NWS, there was a quick flood for Haines until Thursday morning and a lightning flood warning for Juneau until Wednesday night.