SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan's heavy rains break two records in a row



January 22, 2015
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Unseasonably heavy rains gave new meaning to living in a Southeast Alaska rainforest this week when heavy rain with gusty winds, brought by the passage of a series of weather systems, hit the panhandle of Alaska Tuesday delivering rainfall from 1.5 inches over the northern half of Southeast Alaska to 3-6 inches over the southern half of Southeast Alaska.

High water levels of Ketchikan Creek produced by heavy rains...
Photo by CHRIS WILHELM ©2015

Ketchikan International Airport reported a record breaking 5.56 inches of rain Tuesday followed by another record breaking 4.68 inches of precipitation Wednesday. The peak winds Tuesday was 53 and the peak wind Wednesday was 56.

Heavy rains in the Ketchikan area increased the water flow in the spillways of Ketchikan Lakes Dam resulting in high flows in Ketchikan Creek and flooding near Freeman and Harris Streets in the downtown Ketchikan area. The National Weather Service reported Ketchikan Lakes Dam to be working as designed and there was no threat of failure.

Ketchikan Creek overflows its banks. Park Avenue, Harris Steet area
Photo by SUSAN HOYT ©2015

Emergency crews were visible around the city ensuring the safety of Ketchikan residents. Park Avenue, Harris and Freeman Streets were closed and there was a need to evacuate some homes near Ketchikan Creek when the creek over flowed its banks. Wednesday's high tide of 19' at 1:00 pm along with the already flooding conditions added to the concerns. The Stedman Street Bridge was closed to sidewalk traffic for a short while.

Heavy weather towing exercises by U.S. Coast Guard Station Ketchikan.
Photo By CHRIS WILHELM ©2015

Heavy rainfall drove water levels on small streams higher, and in some cases over their banks. Mud slides in steep terrain were a real possibility, and a Small Stream Flood Advisory until Thursday morning was issued.

Late Tuesday night and Wednesday, multiple power outages were reported from Wolff Point north to North Pt Higgins with Ketchikan Public Utility Crews dispatched as needed. Fallen trees from high winds were the most common report for power outages.

The heavy rain continued through the day Wednesday and slowly diminish for a period over last night. However, additional rain amounts are expected to range from 2 to 4 inches with locally higher amounts for Thursday and Friday.

Strong winds were still in the forecast through early Thursday evening with southeast wind to 25 MPH with gusts to around 40 MPH. The wind is expected to decrease to 10-20 MPH by late Thursday evening.

Ketchikan Creek's high water level, Creek Stree area.
Photo by Chris Wilhelm ©2015

Typical of Ketchikan residents, life went on as usual. People were out and about viewing the results of the heavy rainfall as well as numerous photographers capturing the event throughout the storm. FaceBook was active with numerous photographs and videos posted by local residents.

The good news from the weather service today is the panhandle region will see a break in the excessive rain Thursday, so there is no longer a Flood Advisory or Flash Flood Watch in effect. But, that does not mean the area will see dry weather. All panhandle locations will see rain today and it will be heavy at times along the North Gulf Coast near Yakutat.

By Thursday, Ketchikan Creek water levels had lowered.



Watch YouTube Video:

January 2015 Storm, Ketchikan


Photo Galleries:

CHRIS WILHELM -- Click here

WESTON DAVIS -- Click here

SUSAN HOYT -- Click here

CARL THOMPSON -- Click here


On the Web:

NOAA - National Ketchikan Weather Service Current Forecast


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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