Hey, guys, I figured out where all of Minnesota's winter snow went. It's in Cordova, Alaska.
Since Nov. 1, storms have dropped 176 inches of snow and more than 44 inches of rain on the town, about 150 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Temperatures warmed overnight, and residents awoke to standing water because of stopped-up drains. The rain also made the existing snow heavier.
The warmer temperatures - about 35 degrees midday Wednesday - brought another hazard to the Prince William Sound community of 2,200 people: avalanche danger.
There's one road leading out, and it was closed though it could be opened for emergency vehicles.
"We have the National Guard right now using the standard shovel, and they're getting pretty trashed every day - not the shovels but the Guardsmen themselves," he said.
That's from an AP story in the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the whole thing to learn about the intricacies of snow shovel design, and why a standard shovel just ain't enough to deal with 176 inches of snow. Better ones are being airlifted in.
The image above—taken by the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management—gives you an idea of what it's like to dig out of a snow pack like this. I will admit, as much as I realize what a disaster it would be to live in Cordova, Alaska right now, there is a part of me (the part that is approximately 5 years old) that just looks at this photo and thinks, "I will build the most AWESOME fort EVER!"
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.