Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Avalanches- May, 2008

We took these pictures on the Seward Highway. We also saw several avalanches on our wildlife watching cruise. The avalanches just fell into the ocean at the bottom of the mountains.

Avalanches down the side of the mountain (view from afar)

Avalanches up close

These had receded a lot from when they first occurred. They had, in some cases, covered the highway or railroad tracks before they melted or were cleared.

This is an example of an avalanche box which has been built around the power pole. The is hopefully keep the snow from snapping off the pole and sweeping it down the mountain side when an avalanche occurs.

The state capitol, Juneau, was hard hit when an avalanche took out many of the power poles from the hydroelectric plant. They have been operating on very expensive back-up generators for their power. It is expected to take months before the poles are replaced. Juneau can only be accessed by air and by sea. There are no highways on which you can drive to Juneau becasue it backs up to an ice field and mountains. They are no able to truck new poles and supplies in to the city. Residents are expecting a five-fold increase to their already "higher than the national average" electric bills.