Mid-America Catastrophe Services

Ice Jam Flooding Ravages Two Alaska Communities; Homes Lost, State of Emergency Declared

 Friday, May 19, 2023

 Claims Pages Staff

Severe flooding caused by historic ice jams along the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers has resulted in significant destruction of homes and infrastructure in two communities in Alaska.

Residents in Circle, located on the Yukon River, and Crooked Creek, situated on the Kuskokwim River, were confronted with the aftermath of the devastating flood starting on Monday. The damage included multiple homes lifted from their foundations, battered by ice, or submerged after floodwaters rose rapidly on Saturday and receded by Sunday.

The swift thaw during this year’s spring season led to flooding triggered by the melting snowpack. The increased risk of flooding was anticipated due to above-average snow accumulation and persistently low temperatures leading up to spring.

Governor Mike Dunleavy declared a state of disaster for Eagle, Circle, Crooked Creek, and Glennallen over the weekend. This declaration will provide additional funding for recovery efforts and emergency response costs.

In Circle, an ice jam on the Yukon River led to a sudden rise in water levels on Saturday night, followed by a dramatic recession that left behind damaged homes, debris, and icebergs the size of semi-trucks strewn across yards and roadways.

Residents began assessing the damage using boats and drones. Emergency officials were working to provide generators, backup communication systems, and clean drinking water to the village.