The cause of the flood was a catastrophic failure of a natural dam near the headwaters of Granite Creek which empties into the Matanuska River east of Sutton. This flood of water washed down Granite Creek into the Matanuska River, taking out the Glenn Highway on it’s way. When we passed through it was down to one lane and disappeared completely shortly afterword.
All that water went down the Matanuska River and back UP the Knik River overflowing in the Butte area. Rumor was that DelRois Bar never closed down even though the bartenders were in hip boots. Most of the land that you seen in pink in the photo below was under water.
The above is the current FEMA flood zone map for the Butte. Everyone in the pink zone needs to pay for flood insurance if they have a mortgage on their house. Flood insurance is expensive. A flood zone also decreases the value of a house because of a buyer’s fear of purchasing a home in the flood area. In additiion, the borough requires special permitting for any improvements done in a flood zone. Taking a home out of the flood zone is a certain economic value to a home owner and also to the borough.
Most of that pink area in the map above will be removed in 2016. The reason it is changing is because FEMA recognizes that the one time event that caused the flood will not reoccur. The the lake and the dam that created the lake no longer exist so it can’t happen again. The new flood zone map will look like the one below. The bluish-white colored areas overlaying the Matanuska and Knik Rivers will be a flood zone. All the pink areas in the Butte will no longer be in a flood zone. There is a small portion east of the Glenn Highway just south of Maud Road that is not currently in a flood zone but will be in the future FEMA map.
This is a serious benefit to the people living in these areas. I’m not sure who at the borough initiated this, but whomever it is deserves serious Kudos.
This information is per Alex Strawn, director of the MSB permit center. He gave a presentation yesterday for the platting board of which I am a member.
If you would like to look for houses in the Butte, or anywhere else in Palmer go to my MLS portal. This gives you free, unlimmited access directly to the MLS.