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Waiting for the peak

Kenai Keys resident keeps eye on river

Posted: October 15, 2013 - 10:19pm  |  Updated: October 15, 2013 - 10:26pm
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Photo by Greg Skinner/Peninsula Clarion Fallen leaves mark the rising water level of the Kenai River as it passes through the Kenai Keys in Sterling on Tuesday. Keys resident Chuck Shennan said 50 feet of gravel bar was exposed just days ago before the river began its second rise in as many weeks. The National Weather Service expects the water to slowly rise through Thursday. Expected rains on Friday could cause an even greater river rise.
Photo by Greg Skinner/Peninsula Clarion Fallen leaves mark the rising water level of the Kenai River as it passes through the Kenai Keys in Sterling on Tuesday. Keys resident Chuck Shennan said 50 feet of gravel bar was exposed just days ago before the river began its second rise in as many weeks. The National Weather Service expects the water to slowly rise through Thursday. Expected rains on Friday could cause an even greater river rise.

When the Kenai River is lapping at the base of the home Chuck Shennan cares for in the Kenai Keys, he know’s it still has three feet to go before it hits the 13-foot flood stage.

For the fourth time this year, Shennan is waiting to see whether the rising waters will bring more fish into the basement of the home where he stays, flood the neighbor’s yard and send water in a destructive eddy back toward his home like it did last year, or just threaten a bit of damage before receding.

Each flood has come a little closer to the house.

“First one came up to the driveway, the second one came up to the middle of the driveway, the third one came up to the steps,” Shennan said while gesturing toward the four-foot red staircase that leads from his back porch to the river.

“I didn’t expect it to come back up at all,” he said. “They kept saying it was Kenai Lake and Upper Kenai River, usually when they start talking about Skilak is when I know I’m going to get flooded.”

Earlier this week, the Snow Glacier dammed lake released and emptied water into the Snow River, which has risen more than six feet. The Snow River flows into Kenai Lake. Weekend rain continuing into the week pushed the river to the flood stage until midweek.

Shennan said he was expecting to see the high point Wednesday afternoon.

Cooper Landing hit flood stage Monday morning according to the National Weather Service, although no property damage or high water was visible from the highway by Tuesday.

During last year’s flood, Shennan said he had nearly two feet of water around his home.

“If it’s going to crest at 13 feet it’s usually around the house,” he said. “I waited until it was second to the top step and said, OK it’s time to go.”

After being away from the home for nine days, he returned to find nearly 400 dead fish between his house and the neighbor’s.

So far there are only two in his yard — the lowest spot in the subdivision, he said — but more could be on the way.

Two to three inches of rain was expected Tuesday and another two to three inches on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

 

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com

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