Flooding Forces Evacuations at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve

By Mark Leberfinger, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
June 29, 2014; 1:12 AM
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Heavy rains have forced evacuations at the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

Guests and employees from the Denali Backcountry Lodge were evacuated from Kantishna, officials said on the park's Facebook site early Friday. Flood waters began to enter into buildings on the lodge property, forcing the evacuation of about 100 people, The Associated Press reported.

Guests at other lodges did not have to evacuate on Thursday and will be able to leave on Friday as temporary repairs have been made to a road at the north end of Wonder Lake.

The Toklat River in the Denali National Park and Preserve has flooded due to heavy rains in that part of Alaska. (Photo/National Park Service/Daniel A. Leifheit)

Four mountaineers, who had climbed Mount McKinley, were airlifted from the south side of the McKinley River to the Eielson Visitor Center.

They ran out of food as they tried for days to cross the river, the park said.

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Two-and-a-half inches of rain had fallen in 24 hours, ending at 11:50 p.m. local time, on the McKinley River, according to Mesonet.

It will be another wet day on Friday in Denali, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney said.

"A storm system to the north of the park will enhance showers and thunderstorms in that area today; however, that storm system moves away tomorrow and it should be less active on Saturday and Sunday," LeSeney said.

"By Monday, a storm in the Gulf of Alaska may push a surge of moisture northward into the Denali area and we could see an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity early next week."

Flooding rains also damaged the park's road at Eureka and Friday creeks. The park said those repairs will be coordinated with the Alaska Department of Transportation.

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