“Der Sturm Kommit Blitzarig”

I’ve read that the word “blizzard” first appeared in 1870, in an Iowa newspaper. German settlers there were quoted as saying “Der sturm kommit blitzarig,” or “the storm comes lightning-like.” The term soon corrupted into our term, blizzard.

winter storm

No stargazing for us today . . . . (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Early Wednesday morning the wind came up sharply. Snow loads from the trees over the cabin thundered down on the roof. When I went outside, I was surprised to see that the wind was southerly. I’m pretty sure we’d gone to bed with a forecast of high north winds in the morning. Instead, we got 40 knots from the south.

The snow came sideways, plastering to southerly surfaces, including our satellite dish. If you’re reading this, you can be sure one of us booted and bundled up, then slogged out to the beach with a scraper/brush to scrub the face of the dish clear of snow, providing a short window in which to log onto the Internet and post. Hopefully I’ll also have at least enough time to get new instructions from a current Web client, if not carry them out.

This would all be fine, but I’m very aware that we’re missing an incredible aurora borealis display. Apparently, a huge solar flare reached our atmosphere on Tuesday. The University of Alaska’s aurora forecast listed the activity as “extreme.” We couldn’t even see across Lynn Canal, let alone the sky. We’ll likely miss the show.

Ah, but then, who knows? Much of our weather “kommit blitzarig.” A sudden, unexpected clearing period is just as likely as a blizzard.

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3 Responses to “Der Sturm Kommit Blitzarig”

  1. Judy says:

    Mark: Well, I can attest to living through a few of those Iowa blizzards (even though my family farm was in a Norwegian community).

  2. Mark: I live vicariously thru you and also Heather Lende by reading both of your blogs while having my morning coffee! By living in Alaska year-round, you experience daily wild adventures that most of us would only ever dream about! Keep up your descriptive tales of “life on the Alaskan frontier”, and I’ll keep reading! ~~ Erma (from Texas)

  3. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Erma, I too read Heather’s blog faithfully. It’s the best way for us to know what’s happening in town. Thanks for your kind encouragement!


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