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Winter flooding threatens Butte homes

By Shannon Ballard 6:44 AM December 23, 2013

Officials say last year’s Matanuska River flooding to blame

BUTTE – Every minute, hundreds of gallons of water are flowing through Stephen Lynch’s yard.

It’s getting closer to his home, but Lynch said the Butte Volunteer Fire Department has done all it can.

Lynch first noticed the flooding his back yard: It spread to the front, and now it’s inching towards his house. No water has made it inside.

“Hopefully we can secure something before that happens,” Lynch said. “Rather get this resolved,”

Lynch’s home is one of several facing this problem. Mat-Su Borough Emergency Services officials said the 2012 Matanuska River floods are to blame.

“It effected the topography,” said Mat-Su Emergency Manager Casey Cook. “The channels in the river have frozen so the water has to find somewhere else to go.”

Until the channels thaw out, the water will continue to flow near homes. Volunteer firefighters are creating new sand bags and doing what they can to divert water.

Lynch has a wife and a 2-year-old son in his house. He calls this a learning experience.

“It’s been a surprise to us,” Lynch said.

They’ve got their things together in case they’re forced to leave their home. If they do, they might not come back. Lynch is looking to move away from the threatening water.

Property buyouts, dredging and channelization are all options the Mat-Su Borough is looking at to mitigate the flooding.

However, borough officials said the money it would cost to stop the flooding this winter is more than the borough can afford.

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