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Bethel’s tripod may not be standing, but it hasn’t tripped the clock yet

Sunni Bean

The Bethel tripod may not be standing, but it hasn’t tripped the clock. The tripod fell over the May 12 weekend, likely due to high winds, which hit with consistent gusts of 40 mph and reached as high as 57 mph. Still, it has to make it about 100 feet down the river before it pulls the string to the end of the reel and marks the official moment of breakup.

Right now, the breakup front has moved downstream of Aniak and an advisory was out for Kalskag on May 16. There are also flood watches downriver from there.

“That really is to cover places further downstream, basically starting at Kalskag,” said meteorologist Mike Ottenweller with the Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center. “And going down to Kwethluk. And so that would include Tuluksak, Akiak, and Akiachak.”

This weekend, Crooked Creek and Red Devil flooded. The ice is weaker downstream at Bethel, so it’s not on flood watch at the moment.

“However, I do think it's a really good idea for folks to pay close attention, just given what has happened upstream and how this jam has played out over the last couple of days,” said Ottenweller. “But we're thinking that because the ice is weaker, and there are more open leads by Bethel and out towards Kuskokwim Bay, we think Bethel should stay free of any kind of jamming.”

Ottenweller said that Bethel can expect a breakup in the next day or so.

Sunni is a reporter and radio lover. Her favorite part of the job is sitting down and having a good conversation.