KETCHIKAN, Alaska — Heavy rainfall in the southeast Alaska city of Ketchikan damaged a highway and flooded homes, one of them so badly that water poured out of one homeowner’s light fixture.
Ketchikan received 7-10 inches (18-25 centimeters) of rain Monday into Tuesday, creating hazardous conditions, the Ketchikan Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2itLq6A ).
On Tuesday, the city recorded 4.18 inches (10.62 centimeters) of rain, nearly doubling the record set in 1917 for precipitation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It took 100 years to bust that one,” said Joel Curtis, a Juneau-based NOAA warning coordination meteorologist, “but when it busted it, it busted it spectacularly.”
The Alaska Department of Transportation sent a hydrological engineer and the region’s maintenance foreman to investigate infrastructure.
Two homes flooded after a culvert failed, said DOT spokeswoman Aurah Landau. One was the home of Ruben Duran, manager of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. His wife, Pam Duran, described waking up to the sound of falling water.
“What woke me up was water had accumulated in a light fixture and was pouring out of the light fixture onto the floor,” Pam Duran said. “We spent several hours with sheets of plywood and buckets of water and what we could find.”
The failed culvert, she said, is part of a larger issue.
“The problem is the culvert isn’t big enough, and all this water is trying to come through,” Pam Duran said. “This whole system needs to be significantly redone.”
Showers continued Wednesday and were forecast to last into the weekend. Rainstorms forecast through the weekend will not be as dramatic as those on Monday and Tuesday, Curtis said. The heaviest rain was predicted for Friday.