Weather still a concern as search continues for 2 in Haines, Alaska

·2 min read

A search continues in Haines, Alaska, for two people still unaccounted for after heavy rains this week caused landslides, washed-out roads, and widespread flooding in the small coastal community.

Mayor Doug Olerud said that Alaska State Troopers were leading the search efforts for the two missing people.

"They've had teams out on the water, with search dogs combing the beaches, and on the beach they've got crews that are trying to remove some of the materials to get into some of the areas," Olerud said.

"So the efforts are ongoing."

Olerud said Thursday that weather is still a concern. It was raining again on Thursday afternoon, and he said the forecast was calling for more rain or snow in the coming days.

"It's not stopping and giving us a break here," he said.

"We've got two missing individuals, but everybody else that has requested evacuation, we've gotten them out safely. We don't have any other missing individuals. And so to the best of our knowledge, everybody else in the community is safe."

Olerud said local crews are doing their best to deal with the extensive damage around town, but it's been difficult to get a handle on things.

"It's kind of one of those [where] we've got so many places that where do you put the crews first?" Olerud said.

Alekka Fullerton, interim manager of the Haines Borough government, said there are about 50 homes that have been ordered to evacuate because of potential mudslides.

"Unfortunately last night we had to evacuate several other areas of town so we have a lot more people who have been displaced now and so our hotels are all full," Fullerton said.

Fullerton said with all the rain, the ground is getting saturated and dangerous for residents in certain areas.

A geological team from Alaska's Department of Natural Resources that was supposed to arrive Thursday to help determine the stability of the area, was weathered out and didn't arrive until Friday.

They arrived by ferry as the weather made flying impossible, Olerud said.

Submitted by Rodney Hinson
Submitted by Rodney Hinson

"We really are discouraging people from coming to town, we do not need any more volunteers, we don't need people coming to town," Fullerton said.

Olerud said the community has already received a lot of support, from within the state and beyond. He said it's been tough especially with two local residents still unaccounted for.

"It's hard. You know, everybody knows each other," Olerud said.

"I hope we get a break here. We've got a lot of talented people doing everything they can to keep everybody safe. And I have faith that they're going to do that."