Suicide Basin drainage likely to cause flooding around Mendenhall Lake

A U.S. Geological Survey webcam picture of Suicide Basin taken June 26, 2018. (Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey)
A U.S. Geological Survey webcam picture of Suicide Basin taken Monday. (Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey)

Suicide Basin began draining Monday and the city’s emergency program manager said the Mendenhall Lake area could experience some flooding soon.

Tom Mattice said researchers with the University of Alaska and U.S. Geological Survey are in Suicide Basin. They’re reporting that the basin is releasing rapidly.

“They’ve noticed that the plug has been pulled and the drainage is draining quickly,” he said. “The gauges have not come up on the Mendenhall Lake and River gauges yet, but look to see that happen in the next few hours, and probably see a small flood in the next day or so.”

He says that concerned residents can watch lake and river levels on the National Weather Service website. As soon as a new forecast comes in, the levels will be updated.

“It’s hard to know how high the flood will peak, but I look for more models coming from the river forecast center and the university over time,” Mattice said.

National Weather Service issued a flood watch for the area around the lake, which means conditions are favorable for flooding development.

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