Fast Break Up
Break up is the
Break up is when the cubic miles of ice move out of all the rivers. Lots of variables play into when it will happen, and there are several lotteries around the state where the closest guess, by day, hour and minute, wins the pot. Those are specific to a certain river at a certain location, and are usually named “Ice Classic”.
The Kuskokwim Ice Classic terminated yesterday morning, sometime around 10 AM. I haven’t heard the official time yet.
Dutch and I were in
Tuesday morning the buzz was going around the hospital that break up was happening. I wasn’t able to get away for lunch, and after work had to race home to feed the dogs and then race to get to the City Council meeting by 6:30, so had no time to check the river. It was mid-morning today before I was able to get there, and holy cow! It was all over! A few chunks of ice are still floating down, but the river is pretty much all water now. It usually takes a couple of days for all the ice to move out; this was a really fast break up. And it looks like we’ll have no flooding this year at all.
I’m kinda bummed that I missed it. Break up is an amazing thing to watch. I’ve written about it before, here and here and here and here. The physicality of the event is what is so awesome. Conceptualize a serpiginous block of ice, four feet thick, a mile wide, and 800 miles long. That's a lot of ice. Really. A lot. As winter retreats and the weather warms up, that block doesn’t just melt; it would take too long. It breaks into huge pieces and floats out to sea, like a huge crowd of people surging towards a subway, everyone wanting to get on. Bumping, grinding, bobbing ice, in chunks as small as cars and as large as houses, racing for the ocean. Dead trees, dead animals, and all kind of debris riding on top. It truly is an amazing thing to see. People gather at the river's edge and sit for hours, just watching it all go by.
So break up for 2008 occurred on May 13th. The most frequently occurring date for break up at
Labels: Tundra Life