The Kuskokwim River has largely cleared itself of in-place ice, greatly reducing the chances of flooding along the river, according to the National Weather Service.
“We dodged a bullet,” said Celine van Breukelen, a hydrologist with the weather service, after surveying the river on May 4. The ice jam below Napaimute released just before midnight on May 3. By then, the ice downstream had been able to soften and begin moving.
The news comes after days of communities being under a flood watch, and after weeks of preparing flood evacuation plans.
As of Monday, van Breukelen said that only one small ice jam remained on the lower river just upstream of Tuluksak near Bogus Creek. Ice also remains between McGrath and Stony River. Van Breukelen said that this ice is a boating hazard and not a flood threat.
Van Breukelen also reported seeing a loose barge floating down the Kuskokwim. On Monday afternoon, she spotted it downstream of Kalskag, near Coffee’s Bend.
Alaska Logistics owns the barge. It’s loaded with riprap, or basketball-sized rocks, and was bound for Red Devil when it became frozen into the river near Aniak last fall. It’s been making its way downriver since the ice broke. River residents hope that the barge doesn’t capsize, dump its load and block the river channel.
More Kuskokwim flood coverage from KYUK
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