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Heavy weather, a week of cancelled flights, and new volunteers

Coast Guard plane flyover

For a town of just 3,000 people, Nome receives lots of air traffic: including this Coast Guard plane a few days before Christmas 2011. For travelers to southern Alaska or to the Lower 48, air travel is the only way out.

As you may know, the Western Alaska communities that we serve are not connected to the state’s road system. Our ability to travel and to transport goods is thoroughly dependent upon commercial and cargo airlines and, especially, upon the weather. Lately, low visibility and other poor conditions have forced the cancellation of a number of Nome-bound flights.

When our planes don’t fly, cargo (mainly food) and weary passengers end up waiting days to arrive at their destination. Fruit and vegetables bound for rural Alaska may sit for days in warehouses and on runways; the food often spoils, and many frozen foods thaw.

Last week, KNOM’s newest volunteers, Daynee Rosales and Eva DeLappe, were due to arrive at our mission to begin their respective years of service. However, both were diverted to Anchorage when fog and other poor conditions prevented their flights from landing in Nome. After layovers of 12-24 hours in Alaska’s largest city, both Daynee and Eva finally arrived at the Nome airport to hugs and happy smiles from the KNOM staff.

Daynee and Eva have just begun their two-week training programs. We are so thankful for their service.