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House collapses into Alaskan river after glacial dam burst

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A two-storey house in Alaska collapsed into raging waters as the US state grappled with the aftermath of a glacial dam outburst.

Video footage shows the house in Alaska’s capital Juneau being swept away by the Mendenhall River.

The waters destroyed at least two buildings, damaged others and ate away at riverbanks over the weekend but started receding on Monday.

There were no reports of any injuries or deaths.

Authorities in the city said they were working to assess how much damage had been done.

Such flooding occurs when glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes.

A study released earlier this year found such floods pose a risk to about 15 million people worldwide, more than half of them in India, Pakistan, Peru and China.

Suicide Basin – a side basin of the Mendenhall Glacier – has released water that has caused occasional flooding along the Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River since 2011.

However, the maximum water level in the lake on Saturday night exceeded the previous record set in July 2016.

Pic: @twowildhearts/Reuters
Image:
Pic: @twowildhearts/Reuters

Pic: @twowildhearts/Reuters
Image:
Pic: @twowildhearts/Reuters

Pic: @twowildhearts/Reuters
Image:
Pic: @twowildhearts/Reuters

Nicole Ferrin, a warning coordination meteorologist with the US National Weather Service, said that while it’s not uncommon for these types of outburst floods to happen, this one was extreme.

“The amount of erosion that happened from the fast-moving water was unprecedented,” she said.

The Mendenhall Glacier attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year but the awe-inspiring glacier continues to recede as the earth warms.

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