An ice jam in the Kenai River can be seen here from the Soldotna Bridge in this January 2020 photo. (Courtesy Dan Nelson/Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)

An ice jam in the Kenai River can be seen here from the Soldotna Bridge in this January 2020 photo. (Courtesy Dan Nelson/Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)

Weather service warns of potential ice jams on Kenai River

Communities previously affected by flooding because of ice jams and buildup include Big Eddy and the Riverside Drive/Eddy Lane subdivision

The National Weather Service out of Anchorage on Saturday issued a special weather statement for the western Kenai Peninsula affecting the communities of Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Cooper Landing.

“Abnormally cold temperatures” will increase the potential for ice jams along the Kenai River from the Kenai Keys downstream to Soldotna, the weather service said. Though locally reported that the Kenai River is mostly frozen downstream of where the Sterling Highway crosses the river in Soldotna, the river is “mostly open” upstream to the Kenai Keys.

“This sets the stage for the potential of anchor ice buildup on the river bed and hanging ice dams along the river that could cause localized overflow flooding,” the weather statement says.

Communities previously affected by flooding because of ice jams and buildup include Big Eddy and the Riverside Drive/Eddy Lane subdivision, according to the statement.

Per National Weather Service data, air temperatures in Soldotna dropped from 20 degrees at about 1 p.m. on Thursday, to 4 degrees at the same time on Friday, to -7 degrees at the same time on Saturday. The statement is in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Temperatures are forecast to stay below zero through early Wednesday morning.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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