Ice jam risk passes, but flood watch continues in Old Crow, Yukon

The risk of ice has never passed in Old Crow, Yukon, but officials say community members should still be ready for a possible evacuation because of flood risk.

The Yukon Government and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) say an evacuation alert issued for Old Crow is still active, and the community is under 24/7 flood monitoring.

The road at the southwest corner of the airport has closed due to overflow, but the airport remains accessible via the North Road, said Mike Francie, a Yukon government spokesperson stationed in Old Crow.

“There are different risks now,” Francie explained.

“Ice-driven flooding isn’t a threat anymore but freshet flooding could be as high or higher than last year.”

Freshet flooding refers to annual high water caused by snow and river ice melt.

Water in the Porcupine River is expected to reach its highest point sometime this coming week, with water levels near Old Crow expected to be similar or slightly higher than last year, Francie said.

Last year, high water also caused localized flooding near the community’s airport.

Community members are being asked to stay off the water, as ice from the Crow, Bell and Upper Porcupine rivers has yet to flow down the river. While Fancie said there is less concern about this ice accumulating and creating a jam, it may move rapidly downriver and create hazardous conditions for boats on the water.

Those in evacuation zones 1, 2 and 3 should stay ready to leave at a moment’s notice. There has been minor flooding on Ski Chalet Road and North Road over the past few days, but both roads are still accessible.

Old Crow residents in Zones 1, 2 and 3 should be ready to leave any time, after an evacuation alert was issued Friday over potential flooding.

Old Crow residents in Zones 1, 2 and 3 should be ready to leave any time, after an evacuation alert was issued Friday over potential flooding. (Yukon government)

“Minor flooding on the north side of town could still cause homes to be evacuated and to lose power,” Fancie said.

Crews were able to restore access to the lagoon and dump on Saturday by digging a channel to release floodwater, but concerns about maintaining access over the coming days continue.

Community members are being asked to conserve water and avoid flushing toilets, running taps, taking long showers and doing laundry.

 
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