Cold weather and a prolonged ice jam on the Kenai River have prompted the National Weather Service to issue another flood advisory for the Big Eddy area of the central Kenai Peninsula.
The flood advisory is the result of an ice jam that formed near the Big Eddy State Recreation Site on Sunday, Jan. 5, which caused flooding in the Salmon Run Acres subdivision off Big Eddy Road in Soldotna.
The Kenai Peninsula Office of Emergency Management provided a Jan. 10 update on Facebook of conditions in the area, notifying residents that flooded roads have been barricaded and continue to be monitored. Emergency Manager Dan Nelson said on Thursday that conditions are expected to remain static until warmer temperatures reach the area.
OEM has been working with the National Weather Service office in Anchorage to conduct surveys of the river and determine what actions can be taken to address the ice jam, Nelson said. Heavy equipment has been able to improve conditions along portions of Eddy Lane, but Riverside Drive remains inaccessible, according to the OEM update. Vehicle access is currently not possible past Amiyung Drive on Eddy Lane, according to the NWS flood advisory.
Cold temperatures are expected to cause the Kenai River to continue freezing upstream, Nelson said.
Celine Van Breukelen, senior service hydrologist for the National Weather Service, said that temperatures warm enough to break the ice jam are not forecast for the next week and that the flood advisory will likely remain in place or be extended until the weather changes.
“At this point, as long as temperatures stay well below zero, it’s a waiting game,” Van Breukelen said.
The current flood advisory was issued on Friday at around 11:30 a.m. and will remain in effect until 11:15 p.m. Sunday.
The OEM advised motorists to avoid the flooded areas and continue to take safety precautions when near the river, as significant amounts of water remain under the ice and the ice’s thickness can be deceptive along the river’s edge and in larger lakes.