Floodwaters inundate Alaskan town

Sept. 22, 2012 at 4:46 PM
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TALKEETNA, Alaska, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Residents of Talkeetna, Alaska, were asked to evacuate as recent heavy rains caused a nearby river to flood, officials said.

Floodwater from the Talkeetna River broke through town levees in three spots Friday afternoon and covered the streets of Talkeetna with more than a foot of water, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Elementary school students were removed from classes Friday and brought to a local high school situated on higher ground, officials said. About 100 residents were urged to evacuate.

"We strongly suggest people leave, because depending on what the river does, it could eliminate their access to leave," said Talkeetna fire Capt. Eric Chappel. "The water coming into town, it could rise fast, which is why we're urging people to leave."

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell issued a disaster declaration for the Mat-Su and Kenai boroughs and other affected areas, freeing up personnel and equipment to curb the flooding.

"We want to get as much manpower mobilized as we can, and get it done early," Parnell said "My heart goes out to the families, the Alaskans who've been displaced. That's our first priority, is making sure that they're safe and they've got the ability to get shelter."

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