Flood Cripples Alaska Town

Water overflowing the banks of the Yukon River (search) has flooded the only road between the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Emmonak (search) and its airport, crippling the community, officials said Wednesday.

Flooding also filled a city public works building with several feet of water, said Mayor Andrew Kelly, and briefly affected the water and sewer system. The road damage is the biggest concern, he said.

"The stores are saying they're not going to be able to get the freight in from the airport," Kelly said.

Nearby villages also depend on health care at the Emmonak's clinic, Kelly said. "That's going to be more costly for the patients to go to Bethel instead of here," Kelly said.

The Yukon Delta community of about 760 people is 10 miles from the Bering Sea (search), 120 miles northwest of Bethel and 490 miles from Anchorage.

Larry Rundquist of the National Weather Service River Forecasting Center (search) said the ice breakup in Alaska this year has been severe. "Every village from Aniak on down had some degree of flooding due to ice dams and high water in the system," he said.

In the Lower 48 states, the Sevier River ran over its banks Wednesday in central Utah and flooded farmers' fields as mountain snowpacks gave way to warming temperatures. Other rivers throughout Utah are expected to be swollen by this weekend.

The weather service put southern Utah under a flood watch for a possible deluge on the Virgin River by Sunday, when temperatures are expected to climb to 100 degrees.

"We've been warning about this for months," weather service hydrologist Brian McInerney said.