Posts tagged: cold weather

When It’s Spring Time in Alaska . . .

By , March 23, 2013

Ever since I can remember, I’ve heard Johnny Horton’s Springtime in Alaska. My parents played his greatest hits record (paid link) (check your local independent music store) around our house since before I was born. When I left home, I got the CD to play around my house ever after. If you don’t know the song by it’s title, you may well know it by its parenthetical title/refrain/hook line:

“When it’s spring time in Alaska, it’s 40 below.”

This was only ever true of one of my Alaskan homes, Fairbanks, where I was born. None of the other places in the state in which I have lived have ever been that severe.

Even so, that old perennial chestnut has been a bit more apropos this year. Continue reading 'When It’s Spring Time in Alaska . . .'»


By , January 29, 2013

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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