The largest landslide — oor 600 voete — occurred in Haines, oor 90 miles northwest of Juneau, earlier in the afternoon, trapping about 30 mense. As of Wednesday evening, Alaska State Troopers said four homes had been destroyed and six people were unaccounted for.
“There is approximately nine feet of mud and trees covering the area,” Troopers said. “SAR (Search and rescue) operations have been suspended for the evening due to rumbling unstable ground.”
Search and rescue efforts lasted until nightfall. Rescue teams will be departing Thursday morning for Haines on an Army Guard helicopter to assist in coordinating SAR efforts and “provide valuable resources,” authorities added.
Severe turbulence was prohibiting the Guard helicopter from conducting operations Wednesday.
Haines Borough Mayor Douglas Olerud said there has been a wide range of damage in the area, along with smaller landslides in the community of roughly 2,000 mense.
“We’ve had extreme flooding in some of the houses. We’ve had some that have shifted on their foundation. We’ve had some houses that were totally destroyed,” Olerud said.
The National Weather Service on Wednesday afternoon said 4 aan 8 inches of rain had fallen in the Haines area during the storm. A Flash Flood Watch was in effect for Haines and the surrounding area and an additional 1 aan 2 inches of rain was possible by early Thursday morning, according to the NWS.
Olerud added how the rain impacted efforts to reach some areas affected by slides and flooding.
Earlier on Wednesday, Coast Guard officials said they were making preparations to provide emergency support to residents.
“At this point we are aware that damage has occurred in the town of Haines following the report of multiple landslides in the borough,” said Capt. Stephen White, commander of Coast Guard Sector Juneau, in 'n verklaring. “The scope of the damage is unknown at this time but we are proactively moving several assets and personnel to provide assistance to local first responders and the residents who may have been impacted by the landslides.”
“Prayers help. We can always take prayers. Those always work. We need a lot of those right now,” Olerud added.
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