Friday, February 17, 2017

Sunny Daze

The one thing I've noticed about these digital cameras is that they seem to need a lot more light to get a decent photo, compared to the older film type cameras. I guess this is maybe a throwback to those who don't know what a kodak camera is, but anyway, the sun was out on the last dog run, I remembered the camera, and the sky and snow don't look gray. So here yah go...
Heading through the burn area. Down to five dogs now that Polar's retired.
Missy and Jabba up front. Obi looked like he needed a break, so she got some training in lead.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sign of the Beast...

Woke up the other day and saw this on the indoor/outdoor thermometer:
I figured it must be a sign of the end of times. Then I remembered  that the T-Rumpster was president and that confirmed it. But when the world didn't end that morning, figured the best thing to do was go run some dogs.
Heading out on a new section trail; rerouted due to some major overflow  (aufeis) on the main trail.
Taking a break on the way home. Obi and Jabba have really blossomed as leaders now that Barney's retired. They act like a couple of clowns around the dog yard, but go figure, they're both doing great leading the team.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

January Summary...

National Weather Service summary for January for Fairbanks, AK

A very cold airmass moved over the interior during the second week of the month and as skies cleared, temperatures plummeted. Fairbanks experienced its first 40 below since 2015. The temperature continued to drop and the next day the temperature dropped to 51 below at the Fairbanks Airport. This was the first 50 below or colder day since 2012.  There have been three days so far this year when the temperature has reached 40 below or colder. The average temperature was 9.5 below which ranked as the 54th coldest of 109 years of record.

Seventeen inches of snow fell during January at the Fairbanks Airport which was 6.7 inches above the normal January snowfall. This ranked as the 20th snowiest in 107 years of record. Season to date snowfall is now 55.1 inches which is 6.9 inches more than normal.

Looking forward to February, the average maximum temperature increases from 3 degrees above on the 1st to 17 degrees above on the 28th. The average minimum temperature increases from 16 degrees below on the 1st to 10 degrees below on the 28th. The average snowfall in February is 8.1 inches. Available sunshine increases from 7 hours and zero minutes on the 1st to 10 hours and 4 minutes on the 28th.

The outlook for Fairbanks in February from the Climate Prediction Center calls for near normal, temperatures and precipitation.

The main thing that struck me about this winter so far, besides how freakin' cold the forty below spell was, is how often it's snowed. Since late November, it seems like I'm out on the tractor an awful lot, at least compared to the last couple of winters. So one thing I really appreciate this year is having the rear blade hooked to hydraulics.  When we first got the tractor, it had a manual rear blade. To change to angle. you had to remove the clevis pin, push the blade to desired angle, and re-insert the pin. But you couldn't see it very well, since the pin and keeper were underneath the center support, so you had to either crawl underneath it to see it, or take off your gloves and do it by feel. I usually did the latter, my hands near freezing by the time it was done. So when my neighbor Bert offered to help convert it to hydraulics (Hydro Rear 1/23/13), well that was a pretty good deal.

So now every time I'm out plowing and have to change the angle on the rear blade, I appreciate the fine job he did,  making the work a little easier and keeping my hands a whole lot warmer.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cloudy...

After what seemed like a month of clear, cold weather, the chinook rolled through, brought in some clouds, and warmed things up above zero. But what was unusual for a chinook, which usually brings warm, dry weather, it dumped 2-3 inches of snow. So I wound up firing up the tractor to plow the road and driveway, then hop on the ski doo to groom the dog trail. As luck would have it, the clouds started to clear off just when leaving and the temps quickly dropped to nearly twenty below (about minus thirty to the French). But I did remember to grab the camera, so I got a few shots while freezing my butt off down in the valley.
The alpenglow really lit up the clouds...

And had a fine sunset on the way home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chinook!...

NWS forecast...
"Southerly flow aloft will push a series of weather systems north over Northern Alaska through the weekend. This will bring temperatures to well  above normal through Thu along with Chinook wind conditions in the SE Interior of Alaska. This will also bring above normal temperatures and periods of light snow to the remainder of northern Alaska through the weekend." Temperatures are expected to rise today to the single digits above zero in the valley and teens to low twenties in the hills.

According to the NWS, a chinook occurs when strong south winds over the Alaska Range block moisture to areas north of the mountains while warming up the air as it descends on the leeward side of the range due to adiabatic heating. While it may not seem like temps. in the single digits are warm, just a few days ago it was forty below and it hadn't been above zero for about a week.

Taking the doggies out for a run is a lot more pleasant now that it's above zero.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

More Cold...

The forecast for extreme cold last week (Sun Dog...1/11/17) didn't happen. Instead we got another half a foot of snow. But then came yesterdays forecast...

National Weather Service... Arctic cold to settle into the interior...

"Temperatures will fall to around 40 below for much of the interior over the next 24 hours. Some areas outside Fairbanks may see 55 below before the end of the week.

As the snow ends and skies clear a pool of cold air over the high Canadian Arctic will move southwest into the eastern interior Tuesday and settle in across the interior for the remainder of
the week. Low temperatures in the valleys will fall to 40 to 50 below with the coldest temperatures expected in the upper Yukon Flats may fall to around 55 below. Valley locations will not see much change as highs will be in the 30s to around 40 below."

And this time they were right...

National Weather Service....Extreme Cold Over Interior Alaska...

"Temperatures in the 40s and 50s below have been recorded this morning across Interior Alaska. Areas of dense ice fog have formed in valley locations as well. Hillsides are in the 30s below with hill tops in the 20s below.

These cold temperatures will continue through Thursday night in most areas from Fairbanks west. Clouds will spread to the area east of Fairbanks tonight and Thursday causing a slight moderation of temperatures east of Fairbanks."

Some low temperatures in the Interior this morning...

Fairbanks Airport...........51 below.
Fort Wainwright.............49 below.
Eielson AFB...................53 below.
Little Chena R at 12mi...52 below.
Chena R at 39mi.............53 below.

So we really can't complain about the temp's at our place.

But at least it makes for clear sunny weather...
And it's a great time to split fire wood. The logs almost explode when you whack'em with an axe at 40 below.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sun Dog...

Saw this on the Gee Wiz website just before noon today:
(Courtesy of http://climate.gi.alaska.edu)
The sun dog is formed similar to a rainbow, except it's snow or ice crystals, not water droplets, that refract the light.
Thought this'd be a great day to get some pictures on a dog run and thanks to Andy, had the camera with me. But as luck would have it, the clouds rolled in and it was overcast by the time I got out with the dogs.
Supposed to get some more snow this weekend, then be real cold, maybe -40 or lower (that's -40 to the French, too). Looks like we might have a serious Alaskan winter this year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

December Weather Summary...

The cold start to December began in late November with temperatures not rising above zero from the 28th of November and continuing until the 15th of December. The coldest temperature recorded at Fairbanks in December was 36 below on the 4th. The warmest temperature occurred on the last day of month when the temperature reached 35 degrees above zero.

There was 32.9 inches of snow that fell in December which ranked as the 4th snowiest December of 102 years of Record. A very powerful storm beginning on the 29th and continued through the 31st. Officially, 10.4 inches of snow fell on the 29th, while the storm total snowfall in the Fairbanks area ranged from 10 to 15 inches. The snow was still falling when strong winds moved into the area creating significant blowing snow and drifts over open areas on the evening of the 30th and morning of the 31st. West winds increased to 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph. The peak wind gust at the Fairbanks Airport was 52 mph. The storm caused scattered power outages, knocked down trees and signs as well as made travel very difficult. Highway summits north of Fairbanks were closed due to severe drifting.

Looking forward to January, the average maximum temperature drops from 2 above on the 1st to zero by the 12th and then climbs back to 3 above by the 31st. The average minimum temperature drops from 16 below on the 1st to 18 below on the 14th and then climbs back to 16 below again by the 31st. The average temperature continues to drop from 7 below on the 1st and bottoms out at 8.7 below on the 16th and then climbs back to 6 below on the 31st for a average of 8 below for the month. Temperatures in January have ranged from 52 above in 2009 to 66 below in 1934.

The average snowfall in January is 10.3 inches. However in January of 1993, 40.2 inches of snow fell during the month. Possible sunshine increases in January from 4 hours and 3 minutes on the 1st to 6 hours and 54 minutes by the 31st.

The outlook for Fairbanks for January from the Climate Prediction Center calls for near normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

(http://forecast.weather.gov/product.phpsite=NWS&issuedby=afg&product=pns&format=CI&version=1&glossary=1)



The big December storm made for a slow dog run, but now there's a lot smoother trail with nearly a foot of fresh snow.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Storm Warning...

After lamenting the lack of snow, we get this:

NWS Storm Warning:  A potentially dangerous winter storm for Interior Alaska...

Snow is now expected to begin in the Western portion of Interior Alaska and quickly spread eastward beginning Thursday and push to about Fort Yukon by late Thursday evening.

This storm has the likelihood of producing upwards of 8 to 12 inches of snowfall over the Interior. Another aspect of this potentially dangerous storm will be high winds over elevated terrain. This will have the potential of causing blizzard conditions on summits that are prone to these conditions.

The initial weather front has spread heavy snow from the Yukon River Delta  into the western Interior. Southeast winds gusting from 40 to 60 mph have resulted in near zero visibility in blowing snow in many coastal locations. Heavy snow and increasing winds will continue to push east across the state today and impact the entire forecast area with winter weather by tonight. Warmer air aloft has caused snow to mix with freezing rain or turn to rain in the lower Yukon delta and over Saint Lawrence Island. A brief period of freezing rain may spread as far north as the Seward Peninsula today but precipitation is will remain all snow to the north and east. Winds will rapidly shift to the southwest behind the weather front and strong southwest winds will persist over most of the forecast area into the weekend.


But I did manage to get the dogs out, on a sled finally, before jumping on the tractor to plow snow. We've gotten about four inches so far and it's still coming down. Looks like for once the weather bureau maybe right.
12/30/16...Wound up with nine inches over night on top of the three we got earlier in the week. Supposed to get another two to four inches tomorrow, so that should keep me busy on the tractor.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Solstice...

Some thoughts about the solstice:
While the winter solstice is often thought of as the first day of winter, in Alaska, this day symbolizes the return of the sun, as the daylight increases following the solstice. While the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, in fact several days around solstice are effectively the same.length at about 3 hours and 43 minutes in Fairbanks.  (http://ak-wx.blogspot.com)
Meteorological winter is a term used to define the three month period that runs from Dec 1st to the end of February. It is the coldest three month period of the year in the northern hemisphere. Astronomical winter is what most people use to talk about the start of winter. The solstice is called the beginning of winter. based on the fact that the sun reaches the most southern point on the globe. The sun is at its lowest point in the northern sky at noon and, of course, it is the shortest day of the year. (http://www.weatherdudes.com/facts_display.php?fact_id=30)

For me, the solstice means that the longer and warmer days of winter are on the way. The best time for running dogs comes in February and March, when the longer days provide enough daylight and give you the energy needed for the most enjoyable dog runs of the year.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

New Ride...

Well new for me anyway. It's a '96 Ford F-150. I'd been driving the '84 Ford F-250 for almost twenty years now and while it still ran fine, the heavy duty suspension made for a hard ride and the big V-8 was a gas hog. Since I'd sold the trailer a few years ago, there was no longer a need for a heavy duty hauler. The new ride's a straight 6, 5 speed manual, the last year they used that motor, so it should be better on gas.

Was originally looking for a similar set up in a Dodge Dakota, but they went to an aluminum head for their motors a while back, which don't do well in the extreme cold. It was really hard to find an older iron head one in Fairbanks that wasn't a total beater. Besides, would have had to build new boxes for hauling dogs, since it has a smaller bed. So the Ford means a lot less work. It was apparently well maintained by the second owner, who had it for 18 years. As my neighbor Bert said, it's way too nice a truck for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

High Noon...

Saw this cam shot at high noon on the UAF/GI web site:

Alaska Climate Research Center Web Cam

Current Weather Station Data (As of: 12/10/16 12:16:10)
Temperature  Humidity  Barometer          Wind
               -10.3  F           85  %       30.628  in     SSW at 0.0  mph  
(http://climate.gi.alaska.edu)

Reminded me that we're almost at the winter solstice and soon the days will be getting longer. Probably no warmer though, it's usually March before anything resembling warm weather is common. But hey, it's Alaska, nobody said it'd be easy!