Southcentral hits coldest temps this season, rivers and stream flooding possible

The National Weather Service issued a special statement on Monday
The National Weather Service issued a special statement on Monday
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 6:34 PM AKST
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - The state is no stranger to colder temperatures, but as Southcentral dips below zero for the first time this season it’s important to stay prepared. The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Monday, warning residents in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough that potential flooding can occur due to the drop in temperatures.

The most notable occurrence of flooding due to frigid conditions in recent years was back in 2019 after an ice jam broke in Willow Creek, leaving residents of a subdivision north of Deneki Bridge with no way out. Emergency Manager for the borough, Casey Cook said nothing to that extent has occurred since, but that they continually monitor known problem areas.

“As those surface layers freeze, then the water starts to go on top of them and adding more and more layers of ice and water gets blocked up,” Cook said. “We monitor those areas and we rely on residents to kind of report those as they’re happening.”

Residents who notice any flooding on roadways are asked to contact the Mat-Su Borough’s Road Maintenance Hotline at 907-861-7755.

During these inevitable cold snaps, it’s also important that residents prepare their homes and vehicles accordingly. Officials say things as simple as making sure your doors and windows are closed properly can help maintain heat within a home. They also advise opening cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer air helps to avoid potential freezing, and while many Alaskans own a space heater, it’s suggested to limit their use as much as possible due to the dangers they can pose.

“It’s also a good time to check and make sure your smoke detectors and your CO alarms are working, just in case something happens if you’re using an alternate wood stove or something like that to kind of heat your house,” Cook said.

Cold weather is also hard on vehicles, which is why it’s important to keep gas tanks full and block heaters plugged in when parking outside. Cook recommends people travel with extra coats, hats, gloves, and blankets in case of an emergency.