By Chris Klint
Channel 2 News
12:39 PM AKDT, September 20, 2012
Seward officials reported continuing evacuations, power outages and road closures Thursday, in the wake of widespread flooding due to heavy rains that caused the city to declare a state of emergency Wednesday.
In a flooding update Thursday morning, city clerk Johanna Kinney says the Moose Pass School and Seward Elementary, Middle and High Schools are closed, as are most city offices. She advised people to limit travel and stay home if possible, as recovery efforts continue throughout the city.
“Please stay off the roadways, especially areas of concern and allow crews space to work,” Kinney wrote.
Some residents near Box Canyon are being evacuated by the Seward and Bear Creek fire departments, after a water-diversion structure in the area was compromised and began to flood. Residents of the Old Mill Subdivision west of Lost Creek’s second bridge have been asked to consider evacuating, although the order is not mandatory.
Kinney says residents who do evacuate can go to a shelter at the Seward High School, with another shelter available at the Moose Pass School. People who need help evacuating their homes should contact the city’s Emergency Operations Center at 221-4041, 224-4043 or 224-4044; emergency calls should still be made to 911. Online updates are available from the city’s website.
City officials are aware of a power outage on Lois Way and Wilma Avenue on Exit Glacier Road, but say it can’t be repaired until water subsides to let crews reach electrical equipment.
City water supplies remain sound, but anyone on private wells who sees discolored water should boil it before consumption.
Local road closures include Dieckgraeff Road, Exit Glacier Road, Herman Leirer Road, Old Exit Glacier Road, Lowell Point Road and the Old Mill Subdivision. Nash Road is closed at Mile 2 due to a washed-out culvert, which Alaska Department of Transportation crews are working to repair; there has also been a landslide in the area. All area roads are under traffic advisories Thursday.
Seward Highway traffic at Mile 3.5 has been limited by DOT flaggers to one-way travel, due to water on the highway. Crews may try to create a breach to alleviate the problem.
According to DOT spokesperson Rick Feller, one of two runways at the Seward airport remains closed due to the flooding, but overall events haven't worsened Thursday.
"For the most part, the situation in Seward has remained static," Feller said.
Kinney says conditions are improving, but the outlook for several situations in the area depends on whether heavy rainfall continues. A National Weather Service flood warning is in effect for the area until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Contact Chris Klint
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