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Saturday, April 13 2024
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Alaska’s unprecedented glacial outburst floods: shocking video

Alaska Glacial Floods
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A viral video capturing a home swept away by floodwaters due to a glacial lake outburst has left the online community astonished. The incident, filmed from multiple angles, reveals a house located on an eroded bank near Juneau, Alaska, sliding into the rapidly flowing water.

The extraordinary event unfolded as a result of an unprecedented increase in water levels at Suicide Basin, leading to a massive release of water into the Mendenhall River over the weekend. Meteorologists were taken aback by the staggering water level of 14.97 feet recorded on Saturday night, surpassing the previous 2016 record of 11.99 feet, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Suicide Basin, linked to the Mendenhall Glacier, undergoes an annual cycle of water accumulation and subsequent discharge, causing recurring floods. A time-lapse captured by a monitoring camera revealed a sudden drop in water and ice levels in the basin over the past week. The NWS expects the water level to return to around 5.9 feet.

The floods affected areas that had previously been unaffected by flooding, leading the Juneau Police Department to announce the loss of “at least two structures to the river,” with more at risk.

Sam Nolan, who recorded the event, recounted watching the house teeter for over an hour. He expressed, “It was a really heartbreaking sight, but all we could do was stand there and watch.”

The shocking footage, shared on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), has garnered nearly 62,000 views. The video depicts the house’s roof being swept away by the strong river current, and even a neighboring block of flats succumbing to the floodwaters.

Responding to the tragedy, an online fundraiser has been initiated to assist the affected residents. Donations of nearly $11,000 have been collected, providing support to homeowners who reportedly lost not just their house but also their belongings and beloved cat, Leo.

Additionally, Juneau declared a local state of emergency to ensure aid for residents in unsafe structures. The city also acknowledged damage to fuel tanks and hazardous material containers.

Experts deemed the situation highly improbable. Aaron Jacobs, a senior hydrologist at the NWS, conveyed the exceptional nature of the incident, stating, “We never even considered that this could happen.”

As the community copes with the devastating loss, local authorities are collaborating with the U.S. Coast Guard to address environmental concerns stemming from the floods. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation urges residents to report any observed spills.

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