Kenai Peninsula rivers and creeks swelled Thursday following two days of heavy rains, and the National Weather Service was alerting residents to prepare for possible flooding.
Unusually warm October weather dominated by a steady southerly flow pattern was the cause, said Ben Balk, a hydrologist with the service.
The following river information was available as of 5 p.m. Thursday:
The Anchor River peaked at 7.8 feet at 8 a.m. Thursday morning measured south of Anchor Point at Black Water Bend. Flood stage is 4.7 feet, Balk said. With more rain expected Thursday night and into this morning, water levels in the Anchor River were not expected to fall below flood stage until early Saturday, the weather services said.
The rain led the weather service to issue "flood statements" for the Kenai River.
During a break in the rain Thursday, sightseers line the bluff above the Ninilchik River in Ninilchik to watch it consume the road and bridge below.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The Kenai River's level at Cooper Landing was 13.2 feet as of 1 p.m. Thursday and waters were expected to continue rising through Saturday. The minor flood stage is 13 feet.
"There is likely to be flooding on Primrose Road leading to Primrose Campground at the head of Kenai Lake," Balk said. "We are forecasting the level to approach 15 feet."
That forecast was enough to generate a flood warning for Kenai Lake and the Cooper Landing area, meaning flooding was imminent there. The warning will stay in effect through Monday.
Downstream of Cooper Landing, the service issued a flood watch, a warning to residents to take precautions because flooding was possible. That flood watch notice will be in effect through Oct. 30.
Balk also said Kenai Keys, between Skilak Lake and Soldotna, can be expected to approach minor flood stage over the next few days. Minor flood stage there is 12 feet. At 3 p.m. Thursday, the water had risen to 11.4 feet.
Joe and Edie Coma walk up the road to the beach in Ninilchik after watching sections of it calve into the surging Ninilchik River Thursday afternoon.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Water levels could rise to 12 feet near Big Eddy at Soldotna by this afternoon, the weather service said. Flooding in low-lying areas can be expected there.
Other rivers and creeks on the lower peninsula have flooded, including the Ninilchik River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek. Waters had receded somewhat by late Thursday afternoon, but rain Thursday night could slow recession.
Across the Kenai Peninsula near Seward, residents living along Salmon Creek experienced flooding Wednesday morning when water levels crested there. They fell during the night, but rose again Thursday morning.
A flood warning remains in effect there through Friday morning.
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