Water Resources of the United States

PROJECT ALERT NOTICE (AK) Flooding in northwest Alaska

Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 12:05:19 EDT

Summary: Category I flood in remote Wulik River, Seward Peninsula, northwest Alaska.

The Red Dog Mine, 500 miles northwest of Fairbanks, on the Seward Peninsula in northwest Alaska, has received record setting precipitation in the last few days. Red Dog received over 5 inches of rain, estimated to be a 100 to 150 year precipitation event. More rain is expected, 2-3 inches over the next several days.

Gage height at the Wulik River rose over 10 ft, putting about 6 inches of water in the gage house. The river crested at about 15.3 ft gage height yesterday morning, 3 ft higher than the previous peak of record which occurred August 17, 1994 (12.21 ft 38,500 cfs). Peak discharge is estimated to be about 80,000 cfs. Our highest direct measurement is only 12,500 cfs, in 1989.

Access to the area is by charter aircraft to Red Dog Mine, then helicopter to the few streamgages scattered within a 50-mile radius. A field crew will attempt to visit the area over the weekend to obtain a discharge measurement, flag high-water marks, and assess the aerial extent of the event by visiting discontinued streamgages in the region.

Sub-Region: Alaska; Region: Western United States

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