18 January 2017

It's Almost Cold

My readers to the north, in the Interior, will be scoffing. "You know nothing of cold, Rev," as they watch their thermometers dip south of -40°.

Probably so, but one gets used to what one experiences. It was -14 at our home on the hillside, and -18 along the river. It's only -9 in Anchorage, here at work, but much colder to the north. AccuHunch reports -25 in Wasilla, for example, and a balmy -53 in Tanana (central Alaska, along the way to Fairbanks).

By the way, for folks Outside, Tanana doesn't rhyme with "banana." It's TAN'-a-naw. So now you know.

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A friend on the Book o' Faces suggested I should have stayed home by the fireplace. If I thought my employer would pay me to work from home, I'd be there so fast I'd leave smoking tire tracks in the snow. But my boss has this outlandish expectation that I'll actually be in my office during working hours. Entirely unreasonable, ain't it? :)

Ah, well.

* * * * *

If memory serves, the coldest temp up here was -83 at Trapper Creek, a few years ago. There was another spot in east central AK that installed a digital thermometer, but it stopped working at -83, so they don't know if it got any colder than that.

According to the State Troopers, the greatest problem at -65 is tires breaking. Apparently the rubber seams in tires come apart when the temp goes south of -55, so tires blow out if you move your car. That's what I've been told, anyway. I'm sure that someone from the Interior will correct me if I'm wrong.

Troopers have a specially-compounded tire for that, so they've been known to pick up motorists who lose air pressure all at once. I've seen video of buses running in Fairbanks at those temps, so they must use the special* tires, too.

* * * * *

So here's the official version:

Fairbanks and Anchorage woke up Wednesday to an early taste of an expected cold snap this week, as temperatures plunged to 50 degrees below zero in some areas of the Interior.
The National Weather Service office in Fairbanks issued special weather statements Wednesday morning for the eastern Interior and western Interior warning of similar temperatures in valleys across the region and rising to only about 20 below on hilltops or in coastal areas.
Morning lows for the western Interior included 47 below in Fairbanks, 49 below at Fort Wainwright, 51 below at Eielson Air Force Base and Nenana, and 54 below in Tanana. In the east, lows ranged from 44 below in Ambler and Shungnak to 45 below in Galena, 47 below in Kaltag and 51 below in McGrath, Huslia and Nikolai.
In Southcentral Alaska, NWS meteorologist Bob Clay said the coldest Southcentral communities Wednesday included Talkeetna at 29 below, Wasilla at 27 below and Palmer at 20 below. Temperatures in the Anchorage Bowl were as low as the minus teens; Eagle River was at about 16 below.
Jim Brader, a Fairbanks-based NWS meteorologist, said temperatures fell quickly as the cold snap arrived Tuesday, hitting 30 below there by afternoon and 40 below by evening. He said relatively warmer weather should prevail beginning Friday due to cloud cover being brought into the area by two storms.
* For "special", substitute "very expensive".


Griz Alaska said...

Almost 27 years ago, to the day.
I was a soldier in the 6th Infantry division during Brim Frost 1989.
During this massive training exercise at Buffalo Drop zone on Ft. Greely.
The temps were ranging between minus 50 and minus 75 degrees below. With the wind chill going down to minus 120 deg. It was so cold that they called off the majority of the exercise. As our equipment, trucks, choppers, would not function in the cold.
They asked for volunteers to stay for "guard duty" to guard the frozen equipment. I volunteered, and spent a additional 18 days. We played cards, read books, told stories and had a cold blast. We would get a radio call a hour before, food,fuel and brass arrived. enough time to get dressed and act busy. Thank goodness for the military Yukon stove! LOL

Rev. Paul said...

Griz, 40 years ago on Adak, we'd hear about the then-"Operation Jack Frost", which was mostly Cold War stuff, and be glad that our temps were moderated by the Japanese Current. But our winter days had wind chills approaching the levels you mention, even though the air temps weren't terribly chilly. Sounds like your team made the best of a bad situation. :)

LindaG said...

What happens to the tires, is they freeze at -65. So all your tires will have a flat spot. You can drive, but you have to start slowly so your tires get time to warm up and lose the flat spots. People who start too fast have had them, literally, break.
I spent a year in the Tanana Valley, and then finished a 4 year tour at Eielson at Fairbanks with hubby. We tried for an extension, but no go. It is definitely amazing how quickly you lose acclimation to weather.

Would have loved to go back. Maybe some summer. Can't take that cold any more.
Never been on the ferry. Would be cool to go that way and see how everything has changed. Or maybe not, haha.

Stay warm, be safe and God bless!

Rev. Paul said...

Thank you for that clarification, Linda; that makes sense.
Re: the ferry, it makes several nice excursions.