The southwestern village of Kwigillingok, which lies on the Bering Sea coast, within the vast Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, is seeing some of the worst flooding anyone can remember. Flooding is not rare at Kwigillingok, but the severity of Friday’s high tide has reached a new threshold.
Buildings within the village are on pilings, so water did not breach any structures, but time does not appear to be on the village’s side.
The melting permafrost is causing land subsidence, which has made the village very susceptible to flooding, especially at high tide. The flooding then speeds up the melting of the permafrost even more, causing a harsh cycle.
Several homes are slated to be moved due to the threat of erosion, but the entire village is now contemplating a move to higher ground.
The images from the Houston area leave one awestruck, and emotionally raw. For someone in the subarctic, 50 inches of rain from one storm is simply hard to fathom.
Fairbanks has seen its own floods, and I’ve written here before of the ’67 Flood, but the devastation in the Houston area is massive, and the recovery will be long and drawn out.
Still, there is hope. Numerous stories are coming out of the area showing the kindness and bravery of strangers helping strangers. We do seem to save our very best for times of disaster.
When it comes to aid organizations, I have no idea which ones get the most bang for the buck, or which ones have the highest “internal expenses”. I did see a post from JJ Watt, the All-Pro defenseman for the Houston Texans. His foundation has a track record of helping people out in their time of need. I posted his video above, and his link will be below. In spite of the fact that Watt is a former Badger, I’m guessing this son of a firefighter will get some bang out of the bucks donated.
Extreme flooding has overtaken the Dalton Hwy just south of Deadhorse, prompting the DOT to close the highway north of milepost 375. At some locations, over two feet of water is flowing over the road.
This is the second time this year that the Sagavanirktok River has forced the closing of the Dalton. In March, river overflow sent water and ice over the road, forcing its closure.
There is no time frame for the road to reopen. The river is expected to crest in four days, meaning the “Haul Road” may be closed at least a week.
I have already seen several early tourists on motorcycles coming back from the Dalton. I was wondering if they tried to make it to Deadhorse, considering the amount of mud packed onto their bikes. Now it looks like they wouldn’t have had to ride very far to collect all that mud.
The Dalton is an interesting road. I’ve driven up it when I needed four wheel drive for a hundred or more miles, and you couldn’t tell what color the truck was when I was done. I’ve also driven it in the Beetle, when we simply cruised the entire way and only sent clouds of dust in the air behind us.