Frozen Flood

Winter Flooding 2

January 9, 2003  I was living in a cabin on the Old Richardson Highway in 2003 when a major ice dam formed on the Tanana.  Prior to this event I was unfamiliar with the concept of major winter flooding.  Sure I knew about overflow but for some reason I thought of that only in small creek terms.  This area of Salcha has issues with ice damming often as well as summer flood events resulting from the whims of the meandering Tanana.  The quality of the photos is not great, these are scanned prints from a disposable camera.  Experiencing the relentless push of ice was fascinating, a slow motion disaster.  Floods in winter bring different issues than summer floods.  The destructive power of water freezing into homes, garages and mechanical equipment creates a level of damage different than a soaking.  Thankfully my cabin was not in the path of the ice flow, just the road in was made impassable for a time.  The road graders did an amazing job of chunking up blocks of ice as they plowed the road.  This area of Salcha is currently under a borough land buy back program to try to move people out of these chronically flood prone places.  Many times the most desirable land is waterfront property, but people must do their homework on the behavior of that water as the river may have a different plan for that yard than the landowner does.