UNITED STATES NEWS

Glacial dam outburst in Alaska’s capital erodes riverbanks, destroys at least 2 buildings

Aug 7, 2023, 11:38 AM | Updated: 5:28 pm

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Raging waters that ate away at riverbanks, destroyed at least two buildings and damaged others had receded Monday in Alaska’s capital city after an outburst of weekend flooding from a glacial lake, authorities said.

Levels along the Mendenhall River had begun falling by Sunday and returned to normal levels Monday but the city said river banks remained unstable.

On Sunday, onlookers gathered on a bridge over the river and along the banks of swollen Mendenhall Lake to take photos and videos though their ranks had thinned by Monday. A home was propped precariously along the eroded river bank as milky-colored water whisked past.

Two homes were complete losses, and a third was partially destroyed, Robert Barr, Juneau’s deputy city manager, said. There have been no reports of injuries or fatalities.

Additionally, two condo buildings with six units each and three homes were labeled as condemned though it’s possible some of those could be salvaged, he said.

“We’re hopeful that one or more of them may be able to undergo some substantial repairs, including bank stabilization,” Barr said. “It’s not a foregone conclusion that those would be able to come back, but it’s not impossible.”

Other structures also sustained various levels of damage, he said. The city does not yet have either a monetary estimate of the damage or the total volume of water that was released into the river.

Such floods occur when glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes. A study released earlier this year found such floods pose a risk to about 15 million people worldwide, more than half of them in India, Pakistan, Peru and China.

Suicide Basin — a side basin of the Mendenhall Glacier — has released water that has caused sporadic flooding along the Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River since 2011, according to the National Weather Service. However, the maximum water level in the lake on Saturday night exceeded the previous record flood stage set in 2016, the weather service reported.

Water in the basin comes from sources such as rain and snowmelt and melt from the nearby Suicide Glacier, said Eran Hood, a University of Alaska Southeast professor of environmental science.

Nicole Ferrin, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that while it’s not uncommon for these types of outburst floods to happen, this one was extreme.

“The amount of erosion that happened from the fast moving water was unprecedented,” she said.

Water levels crested late Saturday night. Video posted on social media showed a home teetering at the edge of the riverbank collapsing into the river.

The Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year but the awe-inspiring glacier continues to recede amid global warming.

___

This story corrects the number of condemned properties.

United States News

Associated Press

Man who followed woman into her NYC apartment and stabbed her to death pleads guilty to murder

NEW YORK (AP) — A man pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday for stabbing a woman to death after following her from the street into her lower Manhattan apartment building. Assamad Nash, 27, also pleaded guilty to burglary as a sexually motivated felony in the Feb. 13, 2022, attack on 35-year-old Christina Yuna Lee. “Today […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Vermont lawmaker apologizes for repeatedly pouring water in her colleague’s bag

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker from Vermont has apologized for repeatedly pouring water into a Democratic colleague’s bag, after he caught her doing it on video. State Rep. Mary Morrissey publicly apologized to state Rep. Jim Carroll, colleagues and the citizens of Vermont from the House floor on Monday. Both are from […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Google to invest another $2.3 billion into Ohio data centers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Google will invest an additional $2.3 billion to support three data center campuses in central Ohio, the company announced Tuesday. The tech giant has centers in New Albany and Lancaster and one under construction in Columbus to help power its services such as search, Gmail, maps, cloud and YouTube for users […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Massachusetts suffers statewide outage of its 911 services

BOSTON (AP) — The 911 system across Massachusetts went down Tuesday afternoon, making it impossible for anyone to reach emergency services. “The State 911 Department is aware of a disruption to the 911 system and is investigating the cause,” the state’s Office of Public Safety and Security said in a statement. Boston Police Commissioner Michael […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

15-year-old girl shot to death hours before her middle school graduation, authorities say

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with fatally shooting a 15-year-old girl hours before she was scheduled to attend her middle school graduation in Massachusetts, authorities said. Not guilty pleas were entered in court Tuesday on behalf of Trevor Bady. He was arraigned on charges of of murder, armed […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Montana canal siphon splits open, flooding area and threatening local farming industry

BABB, Mont. (AP) — Montana state officials were scurrying Tuesday to stop flooding caused by the breakage of a century-old pipe used to deliver drinking water to 14,000 residents and carry irrigation water to farms. No injuries or deaths have been reported since the pipe split open Monday, causing flooding in the rural area east […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Glacial dam outburst in Alaska’s capital erodes riverbanks, destroys at least 2 buildings