I would call this a cold snap.

When I arose just before 6:00 Monday morning, our outdoor digital thermometer showed 1°, but by the time the sun rose in the 9:00 hour, it had lowered to 0°. We decided not to do anything outside, although I did run out and sweep the solar panels free of what little snow had managed to stay on them in the high winds. The forecast warned of storm force winds to 55 knots. Eldred Rock, to the south of us, reported gusts to 71 knots. We would not be generating any power from our wind generator that day.

While I was out there, I snapped a few photos of the sea smoke, or steam fog, a common feature of our stretch of Lynn Canal at this time of year.

sea smoke on Lynn Canal, January 2013

Sea smoke on Lynn Canal in front of the homestead (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

According to my trusty Alaska Weather Calendar (from Haines’s own Willawaw Publishing) sea smoke is a visible, early stage “of convection heat transfer from relatively warm water to cold air.” I have a method of checking the sea temperature, but in that cold wind, and on those icy rocks, there’s no way I’d do it. The time it took to get a picture was more than enough to cool my enthusiasm, with the wind chill somewhere below -30° F.

This is quite a change from the January we’ve been having, with balmy temperatures approaching the 40s. This isn’t supposed to last long—today’s expected high is 18°. They’re predicting rain by Thursday.

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4 Responses to Smokin’!

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    Crazy Weather! -30 has got to be a little sharp – Our friends up in Fairbanks have sent us their temps – quite abit different from their days in Arizona – He drives a big ore truck in a gold mine operation – We have had two good snows in January and yesterday it was 70 – big storm coming in from Texas and Oklahoma – Just now starting to announce the tornado watches – may get to spend the night in the storm shelter – batten down the hatches

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Linn, Fairbanks is a whole lot colder than us, but it seems like it’s a different cold. My sister used to live up there for a while (I was born there, too) and I helped her move from there in February. We drove from Fairbanks to Haines, where she caught a ferry. I swear, after that whole drive in interior winter, the coldest part of the trip was crossing our bay to get home in 38 degrees and rain!

  3. Jamaya says:

    Amazing photo. Looks magical and super cold!

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Definitely both, Jamaya!

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