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The nightmare returns...


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Old members will remember my posts of April 2008 when an Avalanche knocked down multiple towers between us and our Hydro Plant. The city was forced onto Diesel and our power prices shot up 530%?

 

It has happened again, only dead of winter this time.

 

NEW - Avalanche knocks down Snettisham tower

Juneau was struck by an areawide power outage this afternoon when the line to Snettisham tripped off when an avalanche knocked down a tower that was among those knocked off last April 16th.

 

The power went out at about 1:51 p.m. and was restored to most areas in about an hour.

 

Scott Willis of Alaska Electric, Light and Power says power was brought back through diesel generation.

 

They sent a line crew aboard a chartered a helicopter to inspect the line in attempts to isolate the problem. That's when they found Tower 35 down.

 

He didn't know at this report how serious the damage is, but says the town will be on diesel generation "for days or more."

 

Willis says avalanche danger is high.

 

The utility has contracted with Alaska Avalanche Specialists which has been monitoring conditions along the line all winter. They've also been conducting control work in the avalanche zone to bring down small slides so large ones don't develop.

 

I am taking donations :D

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Granted Diesel was expensive back in April and cheaper now... but of course it was light then and warmer. Now it is dead winter and dark for all but 6 hours a day. So everyone is using more electricity. By using the grill we cut our electric bill to less than $20 (but only because hot water etc. runs off oil), but I can't grill in the dark in snow to my hips. I know a guy who had a $3,000 electric bill back then.

 

They have not announced if it will be passed on to us, no word yet on the damage. Best part is they have a avalanche crew now who blasts by helecopter to keep the avalanches from being big... they were grounded yesterday by low clouds. Course it still would have been enough to damage it I imagine.

 

I live at the top of the Mendenhall Valley just short of the Glacier. The way we lay, we often get either high winds off the ice filed or wind still and when it is really code like the last 4 weeks where we hit single digets, we suffer from cold inversion and they ban the burning of all wood stoves cause the smoke just hangs like smog head high... and that in winter. Luckily I have a Pellet stove so we are not effected by such bans.

 

So last week we were around 9 degrees in daylight and -10 at night with up to -40 wind chills sometimes. This week it is raining on our 3-4 feet of snow and highs in the 40's! Makes me want to go swiming and sun bathing at the glacier it is so warm out. :D

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Just Barrow, Nome, North Slope Oil areas or Fairbanks. For instance Fairbanks, normal winter temperatures around -40. I have heard stories about how you can let a little air out of your tire, move it a little each day and have 4 sided, 6 sided, 8 sided tires all winter. Or throw boiling water in the air and it will not touch the ground, it evaporates instantly in the cold and the dryness of the air. Cold inversion that keeps smoke and exaust so close to the ground that you cannot see your own feet.

 

Not for me either.

 

If you ever get a chance to see the repeats, Watch "Tougher in Alaska". The host is from Sitka, my part of SE Alaska and he travels all over showing why everything is harder here. Fairbanks Firemen have heated water trucks... if not their water would freeze before they could put out a fire in winter. How about repairing power lines in -60 weather. Or building power lines in some remote native village where you can only get the equipment in by snowmobile over frozen rivers, so you have to be finished by spring thaw. Most places stop construction in winter, they start working in winter. It is a great show to watch and funny often times.

 

(By the way, we have but one small pool for 33,000 people. So to swim you either go to one of our rocky North Pacific beaches or swim at the Glacier. You should see the faces of the tourists who see our young children swimming in a kettle at the glacier! "Is it cold?" Well there is the Glacier a mile away dropping icebergs into the lake. Up there you see snow caps melting into streams like this one and meet the lake at places like this... no, it is not cold... once you are numb it is quite pleasant! Of course the sun warms the shallow water we swim in... a little. So the take off their shoes and step in and scream language I shall not repeat here. We have also even had tourists demand the Forrest rangers call the Police as we are abusing our children allowing them to swim there. This is Alaska, no water is warm, we wear sjhorts and sandles when tourists are wearing winter coats and earmuffs! ROFL)

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I cannot even imagine.

 

Fuinny so, the natives in San Antonio wear heavy parkas, earmuffs, and mittens when the harsh Texas winter's hit and the temperatures drop to a frigid 40?F.... We really laughed at them during our first winter here - even so my toes sometimes got a little cold in my sandels in the early hours.

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I'm blinking glad I'm not your postman. I mean, I thought it was a bit cold the other day, and had to switch to left-handed delivering just to keep me other hand warm.

 

You folks up there must be real hardy peeps. Do you think you gain something from other folks, apart from just laughing at them? I mean, are you more healthier?

 

Sorry to hear about your impending financial woes, though.

 

You know, thinking about avalanches, I was wondering whether one day some bright inventive mind would just implement a kind of super-strong, carbon nanotube-made sheet (maybe?), where sensors measuring snow movement might trigger some sort of mechanical device for pulling back on an avalanche and slowing it down, and or even stopping it. Silly idea maybe, with so much weight to slow down.

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We spend allot of time laughing at the tourists in their winter cloths in spring and fall and their clear plastic garbage bags/ponchos form the cruise liners. Guess what, it rains in a rain forest. *snicker*, even in January!

 

Just for a brief bit of comparison, it's about 85 degrees today in Orange County. And this is supposed to be winter... :P

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It's a whopping 25 in Indiana right now with the forecast of 4 for the rest of the week.
Which is just one of the many reasons I am sooooooo happy not to be living in Indiana any more - or Germany for that matter, their weather isn't any better, either.
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