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Old 01-27-2014, 02:05 AM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,762 posts, read 4,212,955 times
Reputation: 2778

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So we have a new lake. I don't know how long it's going to be there, so I don't know if I'll name it yet. Let's give it a week.

To recap, we've had a whole lot of rain and warm weather, and an avalanche cycle of a magnitude that this place may never have seen before. We've had three major avalanches in the same gully in three days, each bigger than the last. The road is buried under upwards of 60 feet of ice, water, and massive piles of snow.

If the dam gives way suddenly a community just downstream will probably flood, maybe badly, and the road through the canyon will be destroyed. If it manages to dissipate on its own, the highway is expected to be closed for a week or two just to wait for that to happen and then clear the road and assess the damage.

The weather's been pretty nice the last couple of days and the forecast looks good, but still too warm. We're mostly just waiting to see what happens next. People in town are keeping their sense of humor mostly and reminding themselves that lots of people in Alaska don't have roads and we have other ways of getting food and fuel and so on. It's pretty wild though, and a good reminder that we don't make the rules.


Here's a video a friend shot:




And for comparison, here's a video from some random person where for the first 1:10 they're driving on the part of the highway that's currently buried. They even spot some skiers in Snowslide Gulch!


Last edited by tigre79; 01-27-2014 at 02:34 AM..
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:40 AM
TKO
 
Location: On the Border
2,226 posts, read 2,826,616 times
Reputation: 2012
I saw the height of the shoulder indicators on the that pass by Blueberry Lake (best camping site I've ever stayed at) last summer and they are crazy tall. Which I could see the area now just to have that comparison myself. Thanks for posting those videos.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:07 AM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,720,710 times
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Tigre79- Interesting and scary. At least you have an alternate way to get supplies. If the road is completely destroyed, do you think it will be rebuilt? OR could this mean you are cut off from road access?
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:51 AM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,010 posts, read 16,229,343 times
Reputation: 9747
Barge & Plane. (mostly Barge)
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,762 posts, read 4,212,955 times
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It'll be rebuilt/repaired as soon as possible. There's no way to say how long that could take at this point, or how much they'd be able to do before summer. Our best hope is that the water releases slowly and doesn't cause too much damage in the first place.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:00 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,720,710 times
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Glad to know that it WILL be rebuilt. I wish you and your town the best in that regard.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,596 posts, read 34,623,436 times
Reputation: 14657
Crazy Valdezians!

Location: Valdez-Richardson Highway
Case number: AK1400618
Type: Disorderly Conduct/Obstruction of Hwy

Text: On 1-24-14, the Department of Transportation closed the Richardson Highway from MP 12-64 due to multiple avalanches crossing the road. On 1-25-14, DOT began avalanche control from MP 12-39 using explosives. On the afternoon of 1-25-14, the Valdez Troopers received a call from DOT advising there are two pedestrians that have walked across the 39 mile avalanche and said they were walking to Valdez. They were informed from DOT, and the Troopers, the road was impassible and they were to turn around. DOT was forced to shut down the avalanche work till the two people were in a safe location. After refusing to listen to the direction from DOT and Troopers, both parties were transported to Valdez via helicopter and subsequently arrested. DOT was unable to complete the necessary avalanche work till the next day due to the delay. Troopers identified Donney Carlson 20 YOA and Kristina Clark 22 YOA of Valdez. Both were transported to the Valdez jail and charged with Obstruction of Highway and Disorderly Conduct.
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,762 posts, read 4,212,955 times
Reputation: 2778
Wow, what a couple of maroons. I wonder where they were coming from. I doubt they walked from where the road is closed at 64 mile. There are cabins here and there along the road, and a small community at 46 mile. Maybe they were stranded out there.
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,762 posts, read 4,212,955 times
Reputation: 2778
Just saw a new update from the city, which included this bit of good news:

Quote:
The City Manager has been advised by the state’s hydrologist that catastrophic failure of the snow dam is considered very unlikely. The main concern at this point is the possibility of some localized flooding just west of the Canyon. The water behind the avalanche has receded since 6:00 PM last night by 18 inches and is flowing beneath the snow pack as well as through the old tunnel.
It'll take a while to dissipate, and then there's about a mile of highway to clear (and that's just this slide, not sure how much clearing has been done on the other slides further up the road). But things appear to at least be going in the right direction.
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:31 PM
TKO
 
Location: On the Border
2,226 posts, read 2,826,616 times
Reputation: 2012
That's great to hear!

I would guess that having the pipeline next to the road ensure it's rebuilt asap no matter what happens. Not sure it is that close to the road along the closed section though.
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