MAT-SU — However long the rains and the flooding lasted, this next phase —recovery — promises to last even longer.
Monday night, the borough gave an update of preliminary numbers gathered thus far in their assessment of the damage. Those numbers were updated later in the week.
Meanwhile, the borough called a serious of meetings in affected areas, and with streams now well below flood stage severely reduced the staffing at its Emergency Operations Center.
By the Numbers
The borough said that so far they’ve counted 823 homes damaged in the flood and 14 destroyed.
As of Thursday, eight roads were still closed, which was well below a high point of 40: Yoder Road in Talkeetna, No Name Hill Drive in Houston, Skwentna Road, and five roads in the Willow-Fishhook area: Johnson Drive, Burrow Street, Friday Road, Kenny Boulevard and Shirley Towne Drive.
The bulk of those roads have major damage. No Name Hill barely resembles a road anymore in recent photos and both Yoder and Shirley Towne roads have bridges out.
At Monday’s meeting, Borough Public Works Director Shaune O’Neill said the goal is to get the roads repaired in time for winter.
“That’s our big concern,” she said, and it’s unclear if it can happen before freeze-up.
As for costs, the borough as of Monday had chewed through $496,000 responding to the disaster, but expected a lot of that would be reimbursed by the state.
Water, water everywhere…
The borough is still concerned about drinking water in two of the most severely impacted communities.
In Talkeetna, the borough says water in the city’s public system has tested safe to drink.
That still leaves the people not on that community water system. There are five-gallon bottles of water available at the downtown fire station. Water test kits will be available next week for homeowners, also at the fire station. Folks can pick them up between 10 a.m. and noon and drop them off between 4 and 6 p.m. the same day.
Meanwhile, in Butte, the borough put out a warning.
“Residents in the Windsong and Heritage Park subdivisions are advised to boil their water until further notice,” the borough wrote on its Facebook page.
“If the Matanuska River flowed through your yard in these subdivision, you should boil your water”, O’Neill said in that same post. “The ground filters contaminates from the water table, so if your well head wasn’t under water the water is safe to drink.”
Butte and Talkeetna have already met to discuss flooding. The borough is planning a third meeting for Willow from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday at the Willow Community Center.
“The Center is next to the only public seabase on Willow Lake if residents in outlying areas want to fly in for the meeting,” according to the borough.
At the meeting, folks will hear from borough emergency responders and experts on testing drinking water and obtaining state aid to rebuild. They’ll also get an update of what the flood did to public infrastructure like roads and bridges.
Contact reporter Andrew Wellner at firstname.lastname@example.org 352-2270.