- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The storm that flooded Anchorage streets Saturday night also washed away Janice Anderson’s first home in 10 years.

The basement apartment was Anderson’s first place after a decade of homelessness, she told Alaska Dispatch News (https://bit.ly/1etUelj ). She was one of about 30 people ordered to evacuate the partially flooded apartment complex this weekend.

“I was sleeping in water,” said Anderson, who was asleep on what she described as heavy medication until her personal care attendant woke her up. “It filled my bed up, and I didn’t know.”

The weekend rainstorm dropped more than 2 inches of rain on parts of Anchorage in fewer than 12 hours, according to the National Weather Service. That makes it unusually intense for the region — a weather service bulletin said there is about a 2 percent chance of that level of rainfall in a given year in Anchorage.

It quickly flooded midtown intersections as well as Anderson’s building, leaving her apartment waist-deep in water.

“It was like an ocean out there,” Anderson said. She returned to survey the damage Sunday and grabbed a water-logged photo album with family pictures.

On Saturday, the local chapter of the Red Cross prepared a temporary shelter for about 30 people after the Anchorage Fire Department warned them of the evacuation, said spokeswoman Beth Bennett.

Only about 14 people ended up using the shelter, including a family of five that was moved to a hotel Sunday.

The Red Cross is putting Anderson in a hotel for three days, but she doesn’t know what will happen after that.

“I don’t know what to do. Now I’m homeless again,” said Anderson, who added that she is sick and on oxygen.

The sudden flooding is unusual in Anchorage. Bennett said she doesn’t remember the last time the Red Cross helped a large group of people because that issue.

“To be honest, one of the challenges we face in Anchorage is people just don’t think of this kind of disaster,” she said.

It’s more of a problem in rural areas with fast-rising rivers, but it can be a city problem too, said Bennett.

“In the span of five minutes your home can be up to your waist in water,” she said.

It’s not clear what caused the extensive flooding at Anderson’s apartment complex, although Anchorage police said construction contributed to the flooding of midtown intersections.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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