Mudslides forced an apartment building in West Anchorage to be evacuated on Thursday, with weeks of wet weather followed by sudden precipitation.
On Thursday night, a slope collapsed behind North Star Elementary School, sending landslides into an apartment complex at the bottom of the hill on North Pole Boulevard. Anchorage Fire Department Assistant Chief Alex Boyd said structural risks forced occupants of 13 units to evacuate, one occupant suffered minor injuries and had at least one of his vehicles buried. .
This week’s storm system brought heavy rain to much of south-central Alaska, including Thursday night’s brief but powerful rain burst that hit parts of Anchorage, including west and midtown. The latest to be flooded: Anchorage August is the wettest month in recorded history.
Nearly half an inch of rain fell in four hours Thursday evening near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Brandon Lawson. Precipitation varied. Total precipitation in Anchorage varied from about a quarter inch to almost an inch during the 2018 period. 48 hours until Friday afternoon.
The downed line was repaired within hours, causing some brief power outages in Anchorage on Thursday night, causing minor flooding on some roads. The fire department had also received reports of flooding in the basement.
Elsewhere in south-central Alaska, flood watches and warnings were in effect Thursday and Friday.
Cordoba saw the most significant rainfall, with some areas reporting more than 11 inches within 48 hours, Lawson said. Parts of the Copper River Highway reportedly had water on the road, he said.
Landslide at West Anchorage apartment complex Boyd said it came after months of heavy rain had created puddles up to two feet deep in the fields behind the hilltop school. Water that remained above the saturated soil flowed down the hills over the underground clay layers.
Boyd said firefighters arrived at the Ladera Villa Apartments shortly after 9 p.m. and received a call that someone had been trapped in the room. The person left before responders arrived, he said. They were treated for minor injuries.
Debris piled up about four to five feet high in one corner of the building, pushing the interior walls by several feet, he said, and officials feared the building could collapse.
Boyd said the landslide covered at least one parked vehicle, but may have buried up to three.
The displaced residents were placed overnight in a local hotel room on Thursday, American Red Cross Alaska Chapter.
Boyd said firefighters, police, nonprofits, utility workers, and engineers all responded to the area on Thursday night to investigate the scene and offer assistance. Heavy equipment crews and engineers arrived Friday to clear debris and assess damage.
Boyd said the building’s owner, Widener Apartment Homes, hopes to allow residents to return home on Friday if the building is deemed safe. Otherwise, the building’s owner had planned to house residents in vacant units on other properties around town, he said.
The company did not immediately respond to a message Friday afternoon.
This is the second landslide in Anchorage in the past week.
Boyd said a large slide occurred near Oceanview Bluff Park on Sept. 3, coming close to homes but causing no damage or injuries.
“With the amount of rain we have, these are about events,” he said. “And you have a rapidly moving, swollen channel. , watch out for signs of soil instability such as glide cracks, such as those seen on (ski) slopes, we are used to seeing them in the winter, but when they show up in your backyard? is quite rare.
Rain was expected to subside in Anchorage on Saturday, but rain was expected to return on Sunday.