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.  (
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. (

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  

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! 

Saturday, December 3, 2016


You know what they say about being careful what you you wish for. After almost no snow in October and November, most everyone around here was hoping for snow. So we finally got it, about half a foot fell yesterday and now the temps are dropping as the skies clear. Looks like it'll soon be too cold to enjoy the fresh snow.
The duplicate stone henge is starting to disappear.

Here's the November National Weather Service summary:

November 2016 started off warm and finished off cold. Much like October, it was very dry and had above normal temperatures for the month. All but 1 day of the first 17 days of November had above normal temperatures. The Highest temperature was 32 degrees which occurred on the 1st. The coldest temperature was 31 below which occurred on the 29th. The average temperature was 3.7 degrees above which was 1.1 degrees above the normal average of 2.6 degrees above.

Only 0.29 inches of precipitation fell at the airport which was 0.38 inches below the normal November precipitation of 0.67 inches which ranked as the 29th driest of 102 years of record. 4.4 inches of snow fell at the airport which was 8.8 inches below the normal snowfall of 13.2 inches and ranked as the 81st snowiest of 101 years of record. Season to date snowfall as of the 30th of November was only 5.2 inches which is 20.6 inches behind the normal season to date total of 25.8 inches.

Looking forward to December, the average high temperature drops from 7 above on the 1st to 2 above on the 31st. The average low temperature drops from 11 below on the 1st to 16 below on the 31st. In the last 112 years temperatures have varied by 120 degrees in Fairbanks, from a high temperature of 58 above in 1934 to 62 below in 1961. Average snowfall is 12 inches but has been as much as 50.7 inches in 1984 to as little as a trace in 1969.

December is the darkest month of the year, with possible sunshine decreasing from 4 hours and 38 minutes on the 1st, to 3 hours and 42 minutes on the 20th and 21st. By the 31st, possible sunshine increases to 4 hours.

About time to sweep off the loft steps before they disappear.