The south of the American state of Alaska is currently being hit by record flooding in the area of the Mendenhall Glacier. Footage shows a large house on the banks of the Mendenhall River being washed away by the meltwater from the glacier. Other houses closer to the glacier are cut off from the outside world.
The city of Juneau, Alaska’s capital, has warned of shore breaches that could result in a rapid landslide. An update from the National Weather Service on Sunday morning stated that the highest water level in Mendenhall Lake, a proglacial lake in the Mendenhall Valley, was 14.97 meters at 11:15 p.m. Saturday, well above the previous record of 11.99 meters set in July 2016 .
“Water levels are falling rapidly, but flooding continues, as are impacts along the banks of the Mendenhall River,” the weather service’s update said. “Significant flooding has been reported in areas that have never flooded before. Extensive erosion of the banks has also been reported. The US Coast Guard is advising mariners to exercise caution in affected areas.”
Residents of the cut-off homes used powerboats, kayaks and personal watercraft to bring generators to homes where power was off, as well as to retrieve belongings and stranded pets and check the condition of homes and vehicles.
Since 2011, the glacier-dammed lake above Juneau releases water, often flooding the valley below. Since then, the floods have never been as severe as they are now.
The Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska is melting at a rapid pace. Since 1929, the glacier has shrunk 2.82 km.