The Lower Kuskokwim School District has two weeks to remove the diesel fuel from the Napakiak school fuel tanks to prevent an environmental disaster. The U.S. Coast Guard issued an administrative order to the school district on Friday, giving them until August 30 to complete the job.
It’s called an “atmospheric river," which is what it sounds like: a channel of very moist air coursing across the globe. And it’s what’s been drenching the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, but a dry patch is now in sight.
This weekend’s storms tore more land away from Napakiak’s already heavily eroded riverbank. About 8 feet of bank fell into the Kuskokwim River, adding to the more than 100 feet of shoreline that has already been lost this year.
Salmon have been found dead in rivers across Western Alaska this summer. The largest die-off reported comes from the Koyukuk River, a tributary of the Yukon. KYUK reports that scientists suspect that the summer’s record heat is the cause.
The National Weather Service warns of possible elevated water levels and minor coastal erosion Friday afternoon through Saturday night from the Kuskokwim Bay to Hooper Bay. Southwest winds of 25 to 40 mph with high gusts are expected to push tides 1 to 3 feet above normal high tide.
Temperatures have cooled in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta thanks to some rain, but the lightning that came with those storms has ignited 10 more fires in Southwest Alaska; others have grown. Those wildfires forced Donlin Gold to evacuate the rest of its employees from its mine site.