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Fuel Reaches Nome; Cordova Keeps Digging

The Russian fuel tanker has arrived at Nome, Alaska, while Cordova, Alaska, residents continue to dig out from their 18-foot accumulation of snow.
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The Russian tanker Renda, carrying much-needed fuel to Nome, Alaska, has arrived. The Wall Street Journal reports that the ship remains offshore, unable to enter the ice-bound harbor, and that the fuel will be conveyed to Nome by means of a mile-long hose. That's easier said than done, though. As a Fox News article explains, the Renda must be close enough to shore to attach to the hose, but not so close that it is in water too shallow for the Coast Guard ice breaker Healy to free it from the ice when it is empty.

The supply of gas and heating oil will mean the world to Nome residents, although the current $6-a-gallon price of gas isn't likely to budge. Jason Evans, chairman of Sitnasuak Native Corp., the Alaska Native Corporation that arranged for the Renda shipment, told the Journal that under the alternate plan of flying gas into Nome, the price would have spiked to $9 a gallon.

Meanwhile, 700 miles to the southeast, the snowbound town of Cordova continues to dig out and watch the weather. Speaking to NPR, local innkeeper Wendy Rainey described nonstop digging, but also a break in the snow that brings its own issues -- in particular, treacherous ice. "We'll keep going because this is only the beginning of the winter," she added.

As previously reported, residents aren't alone in their efforts -- the National Guard is in Cordova to lend its help. Here's a video made by a Guardsman and posted to the Department of Defense website: