Jökulhlaup triggers flooding on Taku River

Taku River Hydrograph

A National Weather Service hydrograph shows Taku River peaked Wednesday afternoon.

A flood advisory is in effect until 10 p.m. Wednesday for the Taku River located south of Juneau.

Water levels started rising dramatically on Tuesday. At 4:30 pm Wednesday, the Taku River measured 43.79 feet at a monitoring station near the Canadian border.

Levels appeared to have peaked at 43.95 feet at about noon Wednesday. Moderate flood stage is at 44 feet.

A jökulhlaup or glacial outburst may have started late Tuesday morning at Lake No Lake or Tulsequah Lake on the Tulsequah Glacier in British Columbia.

Kimberly Vaughan with the Juneau office of the National Weather Service said they expected water levels to peak sometime on Wednesday afternoon.

“We want to make sure that people stay alert for the debris that will be coming down the river as far as branches, complete trees and ice,” Vaughan said. “The temperature of the river has come down a lot since it has come from the glacier. So, hypothermia is even more of an issue on the river right now.

Vaughan said that Taku River cabin owners are well-acquainted with the regular flooding caused by the annual glacial outbursts.

Last Wednesday, a jökulhlaup in Suicide Basin on Mendenhall Glacier flooded Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River. High water ran up into several homeowners’ yards along the river and at least one home was damaged by the flooding. It is a relatively new phenomenon for Mendenhall Glacier with such outbursts only observed during the previous three summers.

Recent headlines

  • Computer problems for some - extended coffee break for others: Some employees of the Dept. of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Financial Services Division in the State Office Building in Juneau drink coffee near their disabled computers March 22, 2017. The workers, who chose to not be identified, said that some computers were working while others were not as a result of a statewide technical problem within the state's system. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

    Software update locks thousands of state workers out of computers

    Roughly 6,000 state workers were unable to log in to their computers, affecting two in five executive branch workers.
  • The top of the Raven Shark totem pole lies in Totem Hall at Sitka National Historical Park. (Photo by Emily Russell/KCAW)

    After 30 years, Raven Shark pole back in Sitka

    The totem pole is an icon of the Pacific Northwest. The carved art form showcases clan stories and family crests in museums around the world. After more than 30 years in the Anchorage Museum, a century-old pole from Southeast has made it back to Sitka, where curators are prepping a permanent home.
  • Longtime leader Rosita Worl to leave Sealaska board

    One of the Sealaska regional Native corporation’s longest-serving leaders is stepping down. Rosita Worl says she will not run for another term after 30 years on the board.
  • U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks to reporters in one of the Senate’s more ornate rooms. (Photo by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

    Murkowski at odds with Trump’s call to end NEA funding

    President Donald Trump’s budget outline calls for eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA has been a frequent target of Republicans, but U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski supports the endowment, and Tuesday she won the 2017 Congressional Arts Leadership Award.
X