By Blake Essig
Channel 2 News
8:11 PM AKST, December 27, 2012
Residents living along the Matanuska River in Butte are once again dealing with high water caused by September storms that brought high winds, heavy rains and flooding throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Mat-Su Borough officials and Butte residents say the Matanuska River is following the new channel it formed just a few months ago, and is again a threat to properties.
“The biggest concern is the water flowing,” said Butte resident Dan Huddleson. “Icing up and flowing over on to the properties and freezing, and then you don't know what kind of damage the ice and water together will do.”
“I think it's a real possibility with our random temperatures that we've had this winter,” said Casey Cook, the Mat-Su Borough’s emergency manager. “If it warms up and water starts flowing through there and it gets into those newly formed drainages, there could be some flooding there, or if we get a bunch of snow now and it melts in the spring time, that could also be a concern.”
For now, the borough’s mitigation efforts are tied up while it waits for FEMA and the state to file the necessary paperwork in order to receive federal funding, which doesn’t sit well with residents.
"Let’s get this darn thing on the road or a lot of people are going to be lost,” said Butte resident Pat Huddleson. “It's wintertime -- we don't need a flood now.”
Until federal funding arrives, borough officials advise residents along the river to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. They also say homeowners should have flood insurance, and be prepared to take all important paperwork with them.
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