DHS&EM 6 May 2008 Situation Report 08-127Postmark
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From:Tuesday, May 6, 2008 2:09 PM -0800
Subject:DHS&EM 6 May 2008 Situation Report 08-127 

SITUATION REPORT 08-127 (as of 11:00 AM, May 6, 2008)

Homeland Security Advisory System – National Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Homeland Security Advisory System – Alaska Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Maritime Security (MARSEC) Level – Level I – Low.
Military installations in Alaska are at FPCON A.
State of Alaska Cyber Security Alert Level: Guarded
World Health Organization Pandemic Phase - Phase 3: No or very limited human-to-human transmission (An Influenza Pandemic situation report, which contains an explanation of the WHO Pandemic Phases, is attached to this situation report and updated every Tuesday)

Threat Level Changes
SECC Preparedness Level has been increased to level 2 due to heightened flood potential in the Salcha area south of Fairbanks and the Gakona River near Glennallen.

State of Alaska Situation
(Updates to this section from previous Situation Report are in Italics)

2008 Riverwatch Program
DHS&EM has deployed a Riverwatch Field Team to the Fairbanks area today to assess the flooding in Salcha.  This team will meet with local emergency management before conducting aerial reconnaissance of the Tanana River.  After this initial inspection trip, the Riverwatch Field Team will head to the Upper Yukon River area to conduct scheduled overflights of the river from Circle to Fort Yukon.

This program monitors the breakup of major rivers in Alaska and warns residents along those rivers of potential flooding from ice jams. The 2008 Spring Flood Breakup Guide is posted on our website at http://www.ak-prepared.com/

Flood warning/watches:
The National Weather Service in Fairbanks has issued a flood statement for the Middle Tanana Valley, Deltana and Tanana Flats: The flood warning remains in effect until 1:45 pm Wednesday for ice jam flooding on the Tanana River in the Salcha area from the mouth of Little Salcha River to Old Valdez Trail. Several ice jams have formed on the Tanana River in the Salcha area. There is a jam one half mile downstream of the Boondox area and there are several jams upstream of that area.

The Tanana River is flowing over its banks and into Piledriver slough. Piledriver slough is flooding portions of the Old Richardson Highway from the Boondox area to as far north as Old Valdez Trail. Water has come down a little on Piledriver slough and the Old Richardson Highway, but the ice jam is still in place. Water levels may fluctuate until the jam has released and ice in the Tanana River has flushed downstream. Water levels could rise further as there are still large amounts of ice in the Tanana River upstream of this area which could move downriver and add to the ice jam. Water is also going over banks of the Tanana River in some locations between the Boondox and the mouth of the Little Salcha River.

The National Weather Service in Anchorage has extended the flood advisory for ice jam flooding in the Copper River basin until 4:00 Tuesday. At 9:50 am, a significant ice jam has formed on the Gakona River from just below the Tok cutoff highway bridge all the way down to the Copper River confluence.

Expected impacts: Water has backed up behind the ice jam and has risen to a level that is causing flooding of the school road and some private property. Access to the school is extremely limited.  No known structures are being flooded at this time. The extent of the ice jam is significant and will take at least 24 hours to release.  Expect water levels to rise until the release of this ice jam.

Alaska Spring Breakup Summary
The NWS Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center in Anchorage has issued the following:

The current flood potential from snowmelt and ice jams this spring breakup season is currently rated as above average for southeast Alaska and the Seward Peninsula.  It is rated as average for the Copper, western Susitna, Kenai, Kuskokwim and Koyukuk River basins.  The flood potential is below average for the remainder of mainland Alaska.  This forecast is based on observed snowpack, ice thickness reports and long range temperature forecasts.

Recent breakup activity:

Tanana River:  In the upper Tanana basin the ice jam on the Chisana River at the Steese Highway Bridge released and the water levels had fallen. On the Nabesna River at Northway the ice was starting to open up but there were still lots of ice in the river. From the little Salcha River to Stringer Road there were several ice jams casing local flooding. At Fairbanks the river is about 30 percent open with no ice flowing. The Nenana River went out on April 28. Typically it is 7 to 10 days after this that the Tanana at Nenana goes out.

Yukon River:  The lower Yukon River still has solid ice in place. The ice went out at Eagle Saturday afternoon. From Circle to Beaver the ice was reported to have started some lifting with water flowing along the edges. Water was up about a foot overnight. At Stevens Village the channel in front of town is reported open with very dark and rotting ice in the main channel.

Kuskokwim River:  The river ice moved out at Nikolai on April 26 about 3 days later than normal. Breakup at Mcgrath is typically 2 weeks after Nikolai. At Mcgrath there is now water flowing along the edges though the ice is still relatively solid. From Georgetown to Stony River the ice is reported to be showing initial signs of rotting. At Crooked Creek, water was just starting to show up along the edges but ice is still solid. On the lower river from Napaimiut downstream the ice is reported to still be solid.

Nushagak River: A pilot report indicated that the river is open up to below Black Point. Upstream there was a lot of rotten ice. The Wood River is open with a fair amount of chunk ice.

Copper River:  The Gulkana River went out at the Richardson Highway yesterday afternoon. The Gakona at the Tok cutoff has an ice jam that extends from the confluence with the Copper River upstream to the bridge. Water is backing up behind the jam and has inundated the school road.
The Copper River is mostly open from Copper Center to below Chitina. From 20 miles below Chitina to Wood Canyon ice is backing up. It is mostly open from Wood Canyon to the Tiekel River and from million Dollar Bridge to the mouth with the area in between still relatively solid ice.

Susitna River: A pilot report on Friday indicated that the ice appeared rotten with some open leads from willow to the mouth.

Skwentna River: The river went out Saturday afternoon.

Seward Peninsula: All rivers are reported to have solid intact ice in place with significant snow cover remaining.

For more detail and to see a flood potential map, breakup map, and other breakup information for Alaska refer to this web site at Http://aprfc.arh.noaa.gov.

Travel Advisories
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has issued travel advisories to the following:
Dalton Highway, MP387-415, Deadhorse
A travel advisory has been issued for MP 387-415 due to high winds of 25-35 mph today.  There are areas of low zero visibility, blowing and drifting snow due to windy conditions. Please reduce your speed and travel with your headlights on.  Please be advised there is a semi-truck stuck in the south bound lane at MP 406.  Please watch for equipment and crews out on the road.

Parks Highway, MP242.8, Moody Bridge
The Parks Highway will be closed at MP242.8 for the duration of 15 minutes on the following dates and times due to blasting under the Moody Bridge by the Alaska Railroad:
11:00 am. Tuesday, May 6, 2008
11:00 am. Thursday, May 8, 2008
1:00 pm. Friday May 9, 2008
Please reduce speeds and use caution through this area.

Parks Highway, MP163.2, Little Coal Creek Bridge
CHANGE:  The one lane closure on the Parks Highway at Little Coal Creek Bridge scheduled for today and tomorrow has been cancelled by the contractor.  The lane closure will take place Thursday, May 8, beginning at 7:00am.  Updates will be issued as further information is received.

Levelock – Generator Failure
The DHS&EM Operations Section received a call from the Village of Levelock yesterday afternoon regarding their main generator that failed yesterday morning.~ A small generator is running, but is not sufficient for the whole village.~ The Alaska Energy Authority sent a mechanic who arrived today and has ordered parts to make necessary repair to their main generator.  No life safety issues reported.

Levelock is located on the west bank of the Kvichak River, 10 miles inland from Kvichak Bay. It lies 40 miles north of Naknek and 278 air miles southwest of Anchorage.

Current weather warnings and watches for State of Alaska can be found at the following National Weather Service web site:  http://www.arh.noaa.gov/

Alaska Volcano Information:  Please see http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/

DOT&PF Road Information:  can be found at http://511.Alaska.gov/ or by calling 511.

The Next Situation Report: will be published as of 11:00 AM, May 7, 2008. A significant change in the situation or the threat level will prompt an interim report. Please direct questions regarding this report to the SECC at 907-428-7100 or secc@ak-prepared.com.

How to reach the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Phone the State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) by dialing (907) 428-7100 or 1-800-478-2337, 24 hours per day.  Information on emergency topics is available on the Division's web site at http://www.ak-prepared.com.  Homeland Security information may be found at http://www.ak-prepared.com/homelandsecurity/

How to reach the Division of Administration – State Cyber Security Program:  If you have questions you may contact Darrell Davis, State Computer Security Officer darrel.davis@Alaska.gov.

For further information:
Being prepared: Ready.gov
Countries:              U.S. State Department Background Notes.
Maps:           United Nations Cartographic Section
                University of Texas Library Map Section.