Monday, January 27, 2014

Avalanches cut off Alaskan town, 'very dangerous' flash floods could follow

Debris from a gigantic avalanche blocking the only road into an Alaskan city could take "at least a week" to clear as officials worry about the possibility of "very dangerous" flash floods.
The 4,000 residents of Valdez were cut off Friday when slides dumped snowy debris hundreds of feet long and up 40 feet deep onto Richardson Highway, according to NBC affiliate KTUU. A larger avalanche added to the mess Saturday.
"Were asking residents to plan on at least a week," city spokeswoman Sheri Pierce told the Anchorage Daily News on Sunday when asked how long she thought it might to take to clear, although Alaskan Department of Transportation officials said traffic could be moving by Tuesday.  
With a “large backup of water” building up behind the avalanche, the National Weather Service has warned that a flash flood is possible. Read More

Mommy, what's a Polar Vortex? by Charles Richardson
Brrrr. How many of you, dear readers, had “polar vortex” as part of your vocabulary before the cold snap in late December? I’m not afraid to admit I had never heard of the phenomenon. While its been around -- probably forever -- we just started noticing it in 1853. Polar vortexes, also known as polar cyclones, occur in the upper troposphere and the stratosphere. Normally they stay up north where they belong and rarely stray. But as I write this, its 23 degrees outside. Friday morning it was 18 degrees. We are about 12 degrees colder than normal. What’s up with that?
I don’t want to get into a debate about “global warming” or “climate change.” I go along with the scientists who say it’s real, but I kind of side with the naysayers when they ask “What can we do about it?” Read More

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