Roads and buildings closed as heavy rains trigger flood warning in Unalaska

The National Weather Service warning tells residents to expect six inches of rain in the next 36-48 hours, with the possibility of more flooding and mudslides. (Lauren Adams KUCB)

Several roads and public buildings are closed after a flood warning was issued amid heavy rains in Unalaska.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday between 3 to 3.5 inches of rain had already fallen in the last 24 hours and that up to 5.5 inches were possible.

Mechele Hester is the senior weather supervisor at the airport in Dutch Harbor. She says the one-day total precipitation — 3.76 inches as of 10 a.m. Tuesday — ranks among the top-10 on record.

“It’s unusual for sure. To have this many days and, looking at the forecast, for it to be continuing on? It’s definitely unusual,” Hester said.

While much of the state is experiencing sub-zero temperatures, Unalaska is unseasonably warm, with mercury levels hovering in the mid-40s over the past week. Two high pressure systems are squeezing warm air from the Pacific Ocean northwards over parts of the Aleutians, funneling warm air across parts of the chain.

Heavy fog has the airport socked in — Hester said only two planes have made it in over the past six days.

The City of Unalaska issued a travel advisory Tuesday morning. Ballyhoo Road and Summer Bay Road are closed, and the advisory warns residents to drive only when necessary. The roads crew has also removed manhole covers to help with drainage.

The warning tells residents to expect six inches of rain in the next 36-48 hours, with the possibility of more flooding and mudslides.

The flood warning remains in effect until midday Friday.

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