Cut Off by Road, Valdez Alaska Copes with Avalanche   Leave a comment

The big news in Alaska right now is the avalanche that has closed the Richardson Highway north of Valdez, which is where the marine terminal for the TransAlaska Pipeline is located. About 4000 people can’t drive out of town because several massive avalanches have sealed a 300-foot-wide canyon with 40-foot-deep of ice and snow, damming a river which created a huge lake, and frustrating Department of Transportation from clearing the road. Follow the link for details and a cool (no pun intended) photo.

http://www.adn.com/2014/01/28/3295469/more-rain-falling-as-state-weighs.html

The REAL big story about this incident is that it is NOT a disaster. Nobody died. A trucker spent a couple of hours caught between avalanches and DOT “rescued” him. The pipeline was constructed with avalanches in mind. Valdez has no current road access to the world, but the Alaska Marine Highway is picking up the slack and Valdez has an airport.

Life goes on.

A part of the Alaskan zeitgeist is acceptance of extreme weather and nature trying to shrug us off. Yes, the people of Valdez want the government to do its job and clear the road, but they recognize the world has not ended and they are (mostly) comfortable with waiting until it’s safe to clear the road. I suspect that is one of the reasons why Sarah Palin didn’t mesh with many of the big city voters who currently control American national elections. They want lots of government intervention because they live in circumstances that require a lot of government intervention. One broadcast story featured interviews with Valdez residents who are coping with the avalanche. One woman said her mother is needling her because she has tons of supplies stuck in Anchorage and only has a “few weeks” left at her home. To a city dweller, a few weeks of supplies is verging on hoarding. In Alaska, that’s not well-prepared.

It’s an interesting dichotome that highlights our very different

Posted January 29, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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