Weekend rains flood Kenai Peninsula

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Heavy rains flooded parts of the southern Kenai Peninsula over the weekend, damaging roads as crews finished repairs from October floods in the same area.

About 4 to 8 inches of rain dropped on the area between Friday night and Sunday. Light rain resumed in Homer at about 6 a.m. Monday after a seven-hour halt and rain and snow was likely Tuesday in the souther Kenai Peninsula, mostly in higher elevations, according to the National Weather Service.

''It looks like the worst is over for now,'' forecaster Elliot Frazier said Monday morning.

Damage to a bridge, however, closed the Sterling Highway to Homer just south of Anchor Point. An alternative route to Homer is open, but the main road to the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula may remain closed until Monday afternoon.

The warm, wet, wind-packed storm that swung over southcentral Alaska on Friday and Saturday sent Anchorage temperatures 20 degrees above normal. Winds gusting to more than 80 mph knocked down trees and knocked out power in Girdwood, Hope, parts of the Anchorage Hillside and Tyonek. By Sunday afternoon, electricity had been restored in all areas.

The storm's heavy rains and damage were concentrated, as they were last month, on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

Midday Saturday, water in a slough known as Black Water Bend began flowing over the Sterling Highway, closing the road, said state trooper Bryan Barlow.

Troopers set up a detour along the Old Sterling Highway, over the one-lane bridge in Anchor Point. Late Saturday afternoon, high water began flowing over that road as well, closing the detour.

Troopers notified people living in low-lying areas around Anchor Point of the rising water, Barlow said. Sunday, no injuries or serious damage to private property had been reported, he said.

The Anchor River and other streams in the southern Kenai peninsula crested by 8 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain diminished Saturday night. As the flood water receded, state transportation officials found damage to the bridge at Mile 161 of the Seward Highway south of Anchor Point.

The flooding in October damaged the southern abutment of the same bridge as well as numerous other bridges and roads in the area.

This time, high water eroded fill around the north abutment.

High water also damaged the North Fork Road south of Anchor Point. In Ninilchik, high water washed out Oilwell Road, a dirt road that runs into the Caribou Hills and damaged a bridge on Mission Road near the village of Ninilchik.

In Homer, flooding creeks closed a three-mile section of East End Road, though a detour led around the closed area.

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