Wednesday, February 02, 2011

HOT TOPICS: Blizzards and Weather Woes

Is this the winter that wouldn't end? Blizzards have hit the Midwest again. I'm reminded of a book called the "Long Winter", which was part of the "Little House" series. An entire town nearly perished.

Here in the Northwest, winter is usually about growing webbed feet and trying to stay alive while driving in dense fog. We get our cold snaps and a bit of snow now and then, but I'm grateful for our generally mind weather. I'm especially thankful when I see what's happening in the midwest and along the east coast. I can't imagine living in a deep freeze for days on end, one storm after another, even with my Alaskan heritage.

I'm in the midst of another Alaskan tale so that's where my mind and heart is. Alaskans are hearty folks. They have to be to live in one of the most spectacular, yet daunting places on earth. The weather alone, is more than most can tolerate.

Did you know that the lowest temperature recorded reached -80 degrees at a place called Prospect Creek Camp? It was January 3rd, 1971. Brrr--too cold for me. The most precipitation recorded in one year was 332.29 inches, which fell in McCloud Harbor back in 1976. Anyone up for a chilly swim? The most snowfall in one month occurred in Thompson Pass in February 1953 -- 297.9 inches! I don't think even the heavy duty mountain snow plows would be of any help with that much snow. They get plenty of wind in Alaska. The highest sustained winds were recorded at 139 MPH. They blew through Shemya Island in December 1959. Even the brave bush pilots were grounded on that day. And can you imagine a snow pack of 356 inches? That happened on Wolverine Glacier, the winter of 1976/77.

Our friends in the midwest and the east coast are suffering. They need our prayers, but let's not forget our dear friends to the north who live with weather challenges every year.

I'll bet most of us have a winter tale to tell. I'd love to hear yours.

Happy Day,


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