Rainfall left literal marks on the landscape in some areas of Prince of Wales Island on Monday morning, loosening soils to the point of triggering at least six landslides that affected roadways on the island.
Fortunatly, there were no reported injuries from the slides, two of which hit portions of Port St. Nicholas Road south of Craig, while three others tagged Big Salt Lake Road in the Black Bear area north of Klawock and another hit at about mile 15 North Prince of Wales Highway.
Photos of the affected areas show large swaths of debris — mounds of mud, rocks, brush and uprooted trees. Some photos show the scars of landslide paths down mountain and hillsides. It’s difficult to imagine the inexorable forces involved in moving such volumes of material.
It was encouraging to hear the quick responses by City of Craig Public Works personnel and others to the Port St. Nicholas area slides and culvert blockage. The Alaska Department of Transportation responded to the Big Salt Lake Road and North Prince of Wales Highway slides. Good also to hear of responses by others to meet the needs of residents affected by the situation.
Clean up work continued into Wednesday, with the hope of finishing up in the next day or so, according to DOT. We’re pleased the agency has the resources to complete the task.
That’s the key. When things happen — and 2020 has reminded us of the many things that can occur — it’s good to have the resources to respond. We can’t plan for every contingency, but having capable people in the appropriate roles and an inventory of equipment and supplies to meet forseeable needs can go a long way in minimizing negative effects.
Communities that are mindul of two mottos familiar in the Ketchikan area, “Be Prepared” and “Semper Paratus (Always Ready),” are planning ahead wisely.