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State responds to flooding on Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Copper Rivers

Sunni Bean
Bethel's tripod, which measures the arrival of spring breakup when it falls into the Kuskokwim and stops a waiting clock nearby, is listing. Breakup along the Kuskokwim, Yukon and Copper Rivers is causing flooding across the state.

The State Emergency Operations Center is actively responding to flooding on the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River, Glenallen, and other areas of the state. The National Weather Service River Watch Team is continuing to fly major river systems to provide advanced warning to communities facing flood threats during breakup.

On the Kuskokwim River, the American Red Cross plans to send a shelter support team to Crooked Creek this weekend. Donlin Gold has reportedly provided shelter supplies including cots, blankets, water, and fuel for generators.

Kwethluk has made a precautionary evacuation to the high school as water rose on May 19, though flooding subsided by May 20. Akiak had initial reports of some water surrounding the airport and multiple buildings.

Red Devil saw reports of flooding on airport property, while McGrath, Lower Kalskag, and Bethel had reports of roadway flooding without apparent residential impacts.

On the Yukon River, the most significant damage was seen in Circle, where the American Red Cross has reported extensive damage, including six destroyed homes and 10 homes with major damage. Tanana Chiefs Conference reported that the community’s wellhead is under ice. In Fort Yukon, several tribal structures and residences have been impacted.

The state is also responding to Copper River flooding around the Glennallen area, with culverts being installed along Moose Creek to address water overtopping the Glenn Highway.

In the Northwest Arctic Borough, a flood warning is in effect for the village of Kobuk.

Registration for individual assistance for 2023 flooding will open on May 24, and applicants can call the state’s Disaster Assistance Hotline at 844-445-7131 to register over the phone or visit

Evan Erickson is a reporter at KYUK who has previously worked as a copy editor, audio engineer and freelance journalist.