Alaska Digest

Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cool spring lowers flood danger in Interior Alaska

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FAIRBANKS - A cool spring allowing gradual deterioration of river ice has eased spring flood danger near Fairbanks.

"We've lucked out with this slow spring," said meteorologist Mike Richmond of the National Weather Service. "The melt has been gradual. Things have had a chance to run off slowly."

Areas prone to flooding mostly have escaped high water.

Small ice jams caused the Chena River to swell but the National Weather Service on Tuesday canceled flood advisories.

There have been no problems reported on the Tanana River at Salcha, Tyler said. That could change if ice from the Salcha River jams.

"The Salcha River hasn't cut loose yet," Tyler said.

Overall, breakup has gone more smoothly than usual, Tyler said.

"It's slowly dribbling out," he said. "I like that."

The Tanana Valley has benefited from a slightly cooler than normal April and May, said hydrologist Ed Plumb of the National Weather Service.

The average temperature of 29.5 degrees in April was 2.2 degrees below normal. The high temperature last month was 50 degrees on April 22 and the temperature at Fairbanks International Airport as of Tuesday had not hit 60.

"Last year it was in 60s and 70s at the end of April," Plumb said.

The cool weather produced what Plumb referred to as a "mush out" on rivers more than a breakup.

Fort Wainwright soldier dies in Iraq

FORT WAINWRIGHT - A Fort Wainwright soldier died in Iraq of an injury not related to combat, Army officials said Wednesday.

The soldier was found dead at his forward operating base in Mosul on Tuesday, spokesman Maj. Kirk Gohlke said.

The identity of the soldier assigned to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team was not immediately released. Relatives have been notified.

The death remains under investigation, Gohlke said.

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