Well at least the top corner of it did on January 7th. It appears that snow fell on a majority of states in the continental US in January. These images are from the NASA Earth Observatory website – the one of the southwest was taken quite recently, January 28th.
Here are the rest of the photos from when Jack drove through the flooded area, the portion of the road that was recently closed because of the overflow of the Sag River onto the Dalton. There is a HUGE tracked vehicle that Jack says can float! I can’t see how that’s possible but supposedly, if it breaks through the ice, it won’t sink to the bottom of whatever it is on. In his case it’s a matter of a few feet to the ground. But it’s just hard to imagine either way.
Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
The last I heard from Jack he was still waiting to be offloaded. There are a few freight trucks showing up to wait for a chance to get through, but no fuel trucks will be allowed. Those will still be offloaded about 23 miles from Prudhoe.
The below photos are the last of what Jack took before the road closure, on the 1st and 2nd of April. It’s far from the worst of it. For the deepest water Jack experienced, click on “On a slow truck to Prudhoe” on the right.
There’s a lot of good information in this article and a couple of photos: http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/alaska-north-slope-truckers-in-limbo-as-dalton-highway-flood/article_311711ce-dff8-11e4-b9be-0bc49e932ff7.html
Jack was able to call and he is fine. The road is closed with no sign of being open soon. He is there with 4 or 5 other trucks waiting to get offloaded to a tractor-type vehicle with tracks. Jack described it like an International Harvester with triangle tracks. Several of them are running back and forth to Prudhoe, skirting the flooded area.
I was worried that there were more trucks all having to idle because it’s so cold but that’s not a concern. There are only a few trucks and some of them have generators so they don’t have to idle for cab heat. And someone brought them food and water some time ago. He’s not having fun, but he’s not too miserable either. It’s just a waiting game until he can get offloaded and head back (and then probably head right back up again).
Coldfoot was really busy when Jack went through on Thursday; no one else is being told to head up to Prudhoe except some fuel trucks. And no one is waiting on the Prudhoe side. They’ve all been told to go back. Many have been flown out and since resources are so short they are probably running essential personnel only.
Jack is a bit mad at himself for not leaving town more prepared. He had 3 gallons of water and some food which is almost gone. But no extra clothes and all kinds of other stuff it’d be nice to have like a laptop to watch movies on to help pass the time. He says the people who are handling this mess are working on putting systems in place to make everything more stream-lined, but at present it’s still a work in progress. This might be the new normal for a while. Everyone saw the water getting higher and higher and no one could do anything about it, like watching a slow motion disaster.
The below photos are from about 10 days ago when the road was still passable, but barely. The best way to view them is to click on the first one and scroll through.
Talk about poor road conditions! This was about a week ago, before the road closure. Jack has been told the road will be open tomorrow so he is on his way up. So sorry to all those who’ve been stuck on the non-home side.
Trucks in this video are going really slow as there’s a layer of glare ice underneath them. At the end you can see a wave that’s being created by moving trucks.
(Don’t forget you can change the resolution on a YouTube video if it looks blurry, “settings” in the lower right hand corner.)
You may already know that the Sag River has been overflowing the Dalton Highway about 20 miles from Prudhoe Bay. The below video shows what the road looked like about 2 weeks ago. Jack was riding into Prudhoe with someone else because his truck broke down. The river runs along the Dalton for a very long ways on the east side of the road.
A lot more to come!
Jack and I found the most amazing sight back in 2006 when we pulled into Happy Valley along the Dalton Highway. Happy Valley is a former pipeline camp at about mile 335 that now is a gravel pullout where various storage units are kept. There’s an airstrip that hunters and Fish & Game use, and Jack has seen mushers there too.
A raven built a nest in a set of moose antlers on the side of a building and 2 young ravens were in it!
You can see how much of a mess the raven family has made with guano all over the steps, propane tanks and the side of the building.
The “babies” were absolutely quiet and watchful while I snapped photos and even climbed up on a nearby truck to get on the same level as them. They did not seem traumatized. 🙂
Jack had a close encounter with a very friendly raven a few years ago too.
Don’t worry, I discussed with Jack how it’s not appropriate to feed wild animals and that it might even be against the law! 🙂
They are amazing creatures. So smart!