City of Seward, Local Photography

Lowell Creek flood control, choreographed

Already high area streams rose even higher after receiving an average of almost half an inch of rain per hour overnight, totaling 4.5 inches between 4 pm and 2:30 am Monday morning. It seemed impossible that the rain could fall any harder as the raindrops merged into an aerial stream. It felt like a waterfall had moved over the town.

As the water cascaded down the nearby mountainsides, the Lowell Creek waterfall once again turned brown and ugly, threatening the bridge and only access to Lowell Point with sediment, gravel, and rocks.

This afternoon I heard the familiar clatter of the bulldozer clearing the stream below the bridge. I headed over to watch the synchronized heavy equipment steadily clearing the outfall and stream.

The orange Metco excavator, positioned at the side of the thundering brown waterfall in the constant white spray, scooped up a bucket of gravel from the swirling outfall pool and swiveled to deposit the dripping load behind it. Scoop, swivel, and dump, repeat.

As it turned back to get another bucketful, a yellow Public Works loader moved in to haul off a bucketful to a growing mound of gravel farther away. Rumble forward, scoop, lift high, back up, rumble up the mound, dump, back up, and repeat.

Meanwhile, the yellow Public Works bulldozer was hard at work in the raging stream, back up bells clanging as it repositioned farther up the stream below the bridge, then clattered all the way down to the tideline as it pushed each load seaward. Push, raise blade, back up, lower blade, repeat.

It was a fascinating, well-choreographed dance of heavy equipment, accompanied by the powerful music of Lowell Creek and the individual percussive sounds of the machinery, orchestrated by the skilled and experienced operators.

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I thank Metco and our Seward Public Works staff for their tireless, hard work. I hope the weather forecast for a reprieve tomorrow is accurate, and the high water and heavy deposition will recede.

Submitted by Carol Griswold

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