Dawson residents flee flood

About 12 residents of Dawson City’s Rock Creek subdivision were evacuated on Saturday afternoon after the Klondike River surged over its banks.

About 12 residents of Dawson City’s Rock Creek subdivision were evacuated on Saturday afternoon after the Klondike River surged over its banks.

According to some locals, this was the worst flooding they had seen in over seven years, said Dawson RCMP constable Walter Wallingham.

All power and telephone services were cutoff for more than 24 hours.

At around 2 p.m., an ice jam sent water pouring into the low-lying residential area, which contains 47 houses.

The floodwaters rose up to 1.5 metres.

Dawson City RCMP, the Klondike Valley fire department and the Yukon highways department helped evacuate about the residents and their pets.

Most of the subdivision’s houses have been built to withstand flooding and remained largely above water, allowing some people to remain at home, said Wallingham.

No injuries were reported, said the RCMP.

Health and Social services set up temporary accommodations for evacuees.

“We encourage people who are evacuated to look after themselves if they’ve got friends or family to go to, but if they can’t then we provide services and we put them up in a hotel,” said Yukon emergency social services spokesman Brian Kitchen.

Only two families – one adult couple and a parent with two children – requested assistance with a place to live, he said.

Both were placed at the Eldorado Hotel and remained there Monday morning.

“The others had resources to take care of themselves,” said Kitchen, who noted that dealing with Rock Creek is not an uncommon occurrence this time of year, and they have had to evacuate people in the past.

The RCMP advised people not to move back into their homes before Monday.

They are now permitted to move home at their own discretion, but Wallingham said the situation is unpredictable because there are still two large ice jams upriver.

“The water level’s gone down significantly right now, but the danger is the other ice jams cutting loose and then stopping where the previous ice jam was and then there would be flooding again,” he said.

The power was cut off before 4 p.m. on Saturday and came on just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, according to Yukon Energy communications supervisor Janet Patterson.

This was a precautionary measure, she said.

Yukon Energy was afraid swirling water might erode the ground around the power poles; they could become unstable and possibly fall over.

“If you’ve got energized lines falling into water that’s not a good thing,” she said, adding this was the first time in two years they have had to cut the power in that area.

But the water ebbed yesterday and power was restored. An inspection showed no damage, said Patterson.

“We’re monitoring it up there and if, perchance, the ice jams and the water rises again, there is a possibility that we would have to turn the power off again,” she said.