Floods hit Rock Creek, Ross River again

Most residents have evacuated Rock Creek after high water spilled over the banks of the Klondike River this week. It's the second time this spring the small community near Dawson City has been hit by flooding.

Most residents have evacuated Rock Creek after high water spilled over the banks of the Klondike River this week.

It’s the second time this spring the small community near Dawson City has been hit by flooding.

Only two weeks earlier, an ice jam caused a sudden flood in the community.

Anne Morrison left her cabin Wednesday morning and has not returned since.

“Our chickens haven’t been evacuated so I’m a little worried about them, but they’ll stay up on their perches,” she said on the phone from Dawson on Thursday afternoon.

At around 7:30 a.m., the water on the road had begun to flow like a river, she said.

It was up to a metre deep in places, she said.

“We just got out of there and packed our stuff and left.”

She’s not sure when the water levels might recede. Hot temperatures, heavy snow pack and rainfall continue to add to the flood.

“We went up the Dome to check out the snow in the mountains and there’s still lots of snow.”

The cabin she shares with Jeremy Kull was also hit by the earlier flood.

In that case, they had half-a-metre of water flowing through their kitchen.

“It wasn’t too severe, but it was really quick. It was neat to see how much water could come through within 30 minutes,” said Kull.

This latest flood came slower, but water is expected to rise another metre before it recedes, he said.

Kull and Morrison are staying with friends near Dawson until they can return to the cabin, which Kull expects will be in five days or more, he said.

An incident management team is on the ground in Dawson to support Rock Creek residents, said Michael Templeton, manager of the Emergency Measures Organization.

The team is being led by Wildland Fire Management, with support from the Klondike Valley Fire Department, Dawson’s volunteer search and rescue team and other local organizations, he said.

The evacuation was voluntary, with some residents staying behind, said Templeton.

“But the road is closed through the community and so is the campground there.”

“The emergency service people have been awesome,” said Morrison.

They are offering stipends for food, places to stay and essential items left behind, she said.

Rock Creek residents are encouraged to register with Emergency Social Services even if they do not need immediate assistance, said Templeton. “It’s more or less to know where people are in case we need to contact them.”

The Pelly River at Ross River has also flooded this week.

There was a small breach in the dike Thursday morning, said Templeton.

Wildland Fire Management and Highways and Public Works are working to close the breach, he said.

He could not confirm how many people or homes have been affected.

The community of Upper Liard near Watson Lake is also at a high risk of flooding.

“The river is rising, and as of last information has not reached flood stage yet,” said Templeton.

How high the river will go is still unknown, he said.

But floods are not expected to rise nearly as high as last year, when record water levels destroyed 11 homes in the community.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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