Kuskokwim ice moves at Napaimute

by Angela Denning-Barnes on April 30, 2012

Ice at Napaimute Monday morning. Photo by Dave Cannon

For the most part, nearly all the Kuskokwim River ice is still intact besides the headwaters near Nicolai, which released April 19. However, much further downriver at Napaimute, 165 river miles from Bethel, the river ice moved Sunday night.

Aniak resident Dave Cannon flew into Napaimute Sunday.

“Yesterday, it was getting soft.” Cannon said Monday. “There was a little bit of open water, about 40 feet across on this North shore. And then last night, sometime in the early morning hours, it must have pushed through, and broke up.”

Cannon says ice is stationary now, but the water rose about four feet Monday morning. He says there are some open patches but there are large pans and big sheets about 200 hundred yards long.

Village view of Napaimute ice Monday morning. Photo by Dave Cannon

Bethel temperatures have been below freezing every night with recent wind chills in the single digits. But it’s been milder in the middle Kuskokwim. Cannon says Aniak has seen several days in the 40s and 50s.

“People have been boating on the Aniak River, Thursday and Friday,” said Cannon. “There was a boat hauled across the ice up to the mouth of the Aniak, and they were able to make it about 30 miles up.”

That’s the same information that the National Weather Service is gathering. Their latest break up report, released Sunday, shows that most of the state is seeing more of a warm up than the Lower Kuskokwim River.

The report shows that temperatures near the coast are predicted to be below average this week which increases the likelihood of breakup flooding if temperatures suddenly warm to climate normals.

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