HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » U.S. » Alaska (Group) » A wetter and warmer Alask...

Mon Dec 21, 2020, 07:54 AM

A wetter and warmer Alaska means dangerously slippery slopes

An hour before sundown on Dec. 2, Lilly Ford and her family heard a “strange, low rumble” outside of her home in Haines, Alaska. It lasted about a minute as a 600-foot-wide slurry of timber, mud, soil and debris cascaded down a nearby mountain, through a residential area, and into the ocean. “I couldn’t believe the mountain had swept people and houses away just like that — ripped the ground out from under them,” Ford said. “It’s just not something you’d ever anticipate.”

Haines, population 2,500, saw more than 8 inches of rainfall during the first two days of December — a total that topped the monthly average by 2 inches. Hundreds of homes on this mountainous peninsula between two inlets and the Canadian border were damaged by floods and debris flows. About 50 households were ordered to evacuate because of landslide danger, and still others were displaced by flooding. A kindergarten teacher and a local businessman are presumed dead.

Landslides are a growing threat as warm, heavy rainstorms — intensified by climate change — flush rock, soil, trees and debris down slopes onto the land below. In response to deadly landslides across the West, scientists and communities are calling for more resources to better prepare and understand the looming threat. On Dec. 16, Congress heeded that call by passing legislation that will identify the most vulnerable communities and devise emergency plans and warning systems to protect them.

SOUTHEAST ALASKA is one of the wettest places in the United States, with some areas drenched by more than 200 inches of rain a year. Lush old-growth yellow and red cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock crowd the region’s Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. It’s also snowy: Thrill-seeking skiers and snowboarders from around the world come to Haines for its legendary deep powder. Now, local weather patterns are being reshaped by climate change.

Read more: https://www.hcn.org/articles/north-climate-change-a-wetter-and-warmer-alaska-means-dangerously-slippery-slopes
(High Country News)

0 replies, 619 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread