ANCHORAGE - Flooding in Seward eased Thursday but the popular tourist town braced for more rain ahead of an influx of thousands of anglers competing in a salmon fishing derby.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for the Kenai Peninsula area - a move taken after torrential rains earlier this week dropped more than 2 inches on the town.
Hydrologist Larry Rundquist said the flooding was caused by heavy rains Tuesday night, at times falling at a rate of a half-inch an hour.
"That is real high intensity rain for that area," Rundquist said. "Everything sort of hit at once."
The torrent forced the Resurrection River, already high at 16 feet, out of its banks. The river rose more than a foot above flood stage. The flooding was aggravated by the failure of a canyon levee, according to Kenai Peninsula Borough flood information phone line. It said the levee was being repaired.
The rain had eased by Thursday, but forecasters said more rain was expected to move through before Seward could begin to dry out. Eddie Zingone, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in Anchorage, said the rain, at times heavy, would continue overnight Thursday.
"After this goes through, they should get a nice reprieve. This is kind of the last hurrah," he said.
Seward city clerk Jean Lewis said residents in flood-prone areas were being told to keep an eye out for rising water.
"Definitely areas are saturated," she said.