A local emergency was declared Sunday in Juneau, Alaska, after the Mendenhall River reached record levels due to water originating from a nearby glacier.
Dramatic footage captured a home collapsing into the river Saturday, Aug. 5. That was one of two homes swept away by the raging floodwaters, and the swiftly moving waters also claimed part of a third home and caused significant damage to a condominium building, the Washington Post reported.
The river level has since receded after cresting nearing 15 feet (4.57 m) over the weekend, but officials are still warning people to stay away from the area as it remains “highly unstable,” according to the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ).
“A number of fuel tanks and hazardous materials containers have been affected by the floodwaters,” SAID CBJ on its website. “All members of the public are strongly advised to stay away from the river.”
Additionally, some roads are still blocked by debris in the region, located about 10 miles north-northwest of downtown Juneau, Alaska.
The record flooding was caused by a sudden outflow from Suicide Basin, an area that is filled with water by melting snow and ice near Mendenhall Glacier. The basin has released water every year since 2011, but this year’s flooding was significantly worse than previous years, according to CNN.
Suicide Basin was once the home of a small glacier, but it has melted in recent years and left behind the barren rock, where rain, snowmelt and cement accumulate in the spring and summer.
“When the water level reaches a certain threshold, it builds up enough pressure to force its way underneath the Mendenhall Glacier, draining into the Mendenhall Lake in a glacial outburst flood,” the USGS explained.
A prolonged stretch of wet weather could hinder cleanup operations around Juneau.
AccuWeather meteorologists say that rain is likely every day this week with dry weather not returning to the forecast until early next week.
Produced in association with AccuWeather