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Alaska community blocks road after further riverbank loss

August 8, 2019

NAPAKIAK, Alaska (AP) — A main street has been blocked in an Alaska community after storms further damaged a riverbank that has been ravaged by erosion, a report said.

About 8 feet (2.4 meters) of riverbank in Napakiak fell into the Kuskokwim River over the weekend, KYUK-AM reported Wednesday.

Napakiak has lost more than 100 feet (30 meters) of shoreline this year.

Winds gusted up to 46 mph (74 kph) and about 2.4 inches (6.1 centimeters) of rain fell from Friday to Sunday. The combined rainfall for June and July was 2.9 inches (7.4 centimeters).

Barriers were erected after the river crested a road in the community 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Bethel. Southerly winds drove the current into the riverbank, said city council member Walter Nelson.

“It was banging on the road,” Nelson said. “It’s almost gone.”

Welders dismantled two empty fuel tanks owned by the village corporation and moved them away from the river. Napakiak also moved its city garage and fire house earlier this summer.

“The past couple of days we had to pull a couple of boats out with our big, heavy equipment out of the water,” Nelson said.

The community cannot move a group of 10 fuel tanks that are less than 150 feet (46 meters) from the river. The Lower Kuskokwim School District is responsible for the structures and the school they service and state funding remains uncertain.

Nelson said he is unsure how long the land will hold.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

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