Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Mayor tells townsite residents to prepare for possible evacuation


December 3, 2020

Snow fell Saturday evening and up to two inches of rain is in the forecast. Mayor Douglas Olerud is telling townsite residents living east of Piedad toward Picture Point to pack essentials and be prepared to evacuate.

Haines Mayor Douglas Olerud warned town residents Saturday evening around 9:45 p.m. to be prepared to evacuate in the event that weather conditions worsen.

"We want people to be prepared in case they have to do an evacuation," Olerud said. "We've got snow, followed by rain. They want us to be prepared."

A Haines Borough Emergency Operations Center preparedness notice is urging townsite residents living east of Piedad to Picture Point and north of Main Street to pack essential belongings and bedding and be prepared to evacuate quickly.

Olerud met with geologists Saturday evening who reported that soil conditions east of Piedad Road to Picture Point are an area of concern. He said similar weather conditions are occurring now that caused the 2012 slump above Lutak Road on Mount Ripinski.

Should an evacuation order be issued, residents should travel to the Haines School where shelter has been made available.

"We've got officers out patrolling," Olerud said. "They will be out all night monitoring the water situation on the whole hillside and checking to see if there's any concern."

Olerud urged residents to pay attention to steep terrain above them and to be vigilant for any changes. Important conditions to monitor include creek water becoming brown or dirty over time, pooling water on the ground, cracking drywall or shifting walls in homes, cracks in the land or pavement, ground movement of any kind, trees tipping or falling over, overflowing wells, wet basements, clogged culverts and water or debris washing across roadways.

For questions and to report signs call the EOC at 766-6445.

A map of the preparedness notice. The area includes homes east of Piedad Road to Picture Point and North of Main Street.

NOAA Senior meteorologist Nicole Ferrin, working in Haines, told the CVN early Saturday evening that around three to five inches of snow is expected to fall on Haines through tomorrow morning. A mid-day wind shift to the south will cause temperatures to spike and the precipitation will change to rain, accumulating up to one to one and a half inches in a 24-hour period.

"One concern we have is three to five inches of snow falling on the ground tonight. All that liquid will melt in conjunction with the rainfall tomorrow and the two events will be added together with the new liquid on the ground," Ferrin said. "It's still a concern since those slopes are still unstable."

She said rain showers are expected through Wednesday and cooler temperatures are expected to arrive late next week and harden the ground.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. See the EOC's complete announcement at


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