Quickly Rising River Makes Locals and Officials Prepare for the Worst
Emergency officials are keeping a close eye on the Matanuska River
MATANUSKA RIVER - Emergency officials are keeping a close eye on the Matanuska River. Fast-melting glaciers have caused the river to rise to dangerous levels over the last few weeks.
The churning waters are eroding banks and levees that protect about a dozen homes in the Butte. Upriver, homes in Sutton are threatened as well.
“It’s moving at about 20 thousand cubic feet per second," said Borough Emergency Manager Casey Cook. “That’s like an Olympic-sized swimming pool going past you every second.”
The water has risen two feet in the last several days but Cook said the main concern is how fast it is moving. It’s a dangerous situation that is prompting warnings from the borough as well as an offer of free sandbags for residents who want to shore up their property.
But it isn’t just homes that are at risk, people are too. Borough officials say the only way to stay safe right now is to stay out of the water altogether.
“We have our water rescues and our fire departments that are trained to rescue people and respond to emergencies,” said Cook. “ But we like to have people planning so that their activities don't result in emergencies.”