Recent winds and rain have caused power outages, landslides and flooding across the peninsula, prompting a two-hour delay start for all schools Tuesday morning and temporary road closures in some areas.
In a Tuesday afternoon video update, Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Manager Dan Nelson told residents that the state Department of Transportation and borough responders were working to clear roads.
“We had some closures this morning, but things are getting a little bit back to a normal weather pattern,” Nelson said.
Almost 4,000 members lost power early this week due to high winds, a Tuesday press release from Homer Electric Association said. As of Tuesday, all members affected by that outage had their power restored.
As snow melts from power lines and weakened trees settle, however, more power outages may continue, according to the release.
Warm temperatures and rain are still forecast to continue in some areas, which could impact different areas of the peninsula, Nelson said. The flood warning for the Anchor River, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Monday, was extended until late Tuesday night. Rainfall combined with snowmelt over the past two days caused a significant rise in small streams and rivers on the Kenai Peninsula, the warning said Tuesday. The Anchor River in Anchor Point is expected to remain in flood stage until Tuesday evening.
Roads and highways in the area are currently experienced high water issues and some may be damaged or flooded. Sterling Highway, near Mile 160, could be inundated with flood water, the warning said, and local shops, campgrounds and cabins downstream might remain flooded into Tuesday evening.
If residents encounter a flooded road, NOAA encourages drivers to turn around. When driving at night, be especially cautious since it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding in the dark, the warning said.
Last Friday, the borough issued an emergency disaster declaration after winds and rains caused widespread power outages and extensive damage in Seldovia. The declaration was also issued to prep for imminent impacts caused by the storm system that came through this last weekend and early this week.
“The weather information we received was somewhat uncertain in specifics, but we knew there would be widespread impacts,” Nelson said.
Nelson said that declaration allows for the borough to initiate its emergency operations plan and its incident management team, which is made up of borough employees who are specially trained in logistics and coordination.
“The incident management team is a group of borough employees that take extra training and extra job responsibilities to go away from their normal job in an emergency and help with the coordination and response aspect of borough operations,” Nelson said.