Category: Weather and Climate


My cousins and their spice. (Hint--what is the singular of mice?"

My 2nd cousins and their spice. (Hint–what is the singular of mice?)

The sun will rise in Fairbanks at 4:33 am, and set 19 hours 25 minutes later, at 11:39 in the evening. I won’t see either one, though I’ll get back to Fairbanks just before midnight. I may catch a glimpse of the sun just before the plane starts to descend.

Where am I? Well, this weekend is our family reunion at the YMCA of the Rockies, near Estes Park, Colorado. At Denver, a bit south and east of my current location, the su2ndn will rise at 5:49 in the morning and set 14 hours and 34 minutes later at 8:23 this evening. And it gets dark here!

I even went horseback riding, though at 73 I needed some help getting on and off the horse. The actual riding went fine, though for some reason the photo I took of the scenery from horseback refuses to upload to wordpress.

I have internet access at the camp, but no e-mail, I’ll expand this and add some photos. One thing I know: the July precipitation for Fairbanks as of the end of last Saturday was 5.41” compared with the July record of 5.96”, and the forecast then was for more showers.

The sun rose this morning at 3:49, and will set 20 hours 15 minutes later, a minute after midnight tomorrow morning. It’s still rainy: 4.58” (well over twice the July normal) as of July 12, with more yesterday and even more predicted for next week. If this keeps up we could set a record for July as well as June.

The raised beds with herbs and mint are riotously green, and the mints especially are crowding each other out. The delphiniums were a little beaten down by all the rain, but they are now tied up. The tallest are close to 12’ high, and the flowers are just starting to open. I don’t actually grow peonies but they are one of the few commercial crops up here and are starting to show up at the Farmers’ Market. Seems that the blooming period here, in July, is at a time when there are very few parts of the world peonies are in bloom. Result? Several people are growing them for the international cut flower market.

My hair finally grew back from chemo to the point that I got a haircut. I thought all the curl would be cut off, but a little wave still remains. I’ve included some before and after shots, which you can compare with the ones last fall.


The sun rose today at 3:27 this morning, and will set 20 hours 57 minutes later at 12:22 tomorrow morning. We’re already losing 6 minutes a day. It’s downright hot by Alaska standards, well into the 80’s over the weekend.

The late June rain continued for the first two days of the month – and we did set a new record for June. At 3.36” we’re already above normal for July. The forecast for the next few days is cloudy, scattered showers and occasional thunderstorms, and high temperatures in the 70’s. Maybe I can hold out without air conditioning, but I’ve gone back to my Kansas habits: close the house up in the daytime and open the windows as soon as the temperature outdoors falls below the indoor temperature.

The garden loves it. I picked the first tiny zucchini yesterday, the day lilies are in full bloom, and the first tall columbines are opening. All of the photos were taken yesterday afternoon.

Unofficially, it started raining around midnight and has been raining (with some thunder) ever since. We’re on the way to setting another record for July. Having survived the 1967 Fairbanks flood, I’m keeping an eye on the flood advisories (which we’re under.)

backyard 10-30 6-29-14The sun will rise this morning at 3:09, and set 21 hours 39 minutes later at 12:38 tomorrow morning. It’s gotten a good deal warmer and drier this weekend; it hit 80 yesterday. There is a chance of showers or thundershowers today, but compared with the past week it’s really nice out, if a little warm.

At least the rain is easing off. Our unofficial total for June so far is 3.55 inches, which would tie the record for the month. One good shower today, which is a distinct possibility, would give us a new record for June. As of midmorning, the forecasts are calling for thunderstorms this afternoon and rain likely after midnight.

The garden is growing well. The delphiniums range from shoulder high to tip-my-head-back-and-look-up, though they are only starting to bud. The white iris are blooming, and the daylilies will be open in a few days. The photo, by the way, was taken in available light at 10:30 yesterday evening.

d. rose 6:22:14The sun will rise this morning at 2:59 and set 21 hours and 48 minutes later at 12:47 tomorrow morning. This near the solstice, the day length changes by less than a minute a day, and it is bright twilight all night.

Until the middle of last week we still had red flag warnings and high fire danger, but starting Wednesday we went into a rainy pattern. In fact, we are running at about twice normal rainfall for the month, and we’ve gone from fire weather advisories to local flood advisories virtually overnight. Highs for the next week are expected to be around 70, but with lots of scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoons.

Zucchini 6:22:14All this rain has been great for the garden. The first domesticated rose has opened. I’m not sure what variety, but it transplants easily, suckers freely, and makes a nice hedge on the east side of the lawn. It is not a rugosa, which I bought it as, but looks more like a spinosissima. Lot of little tiny spines, and a pretty but small double shell-pink flower.

The green zucchini have female flowers, and are actually showing tiny squash. The yellows are a good deal behind them, but they are showing buds. (The black stuff is IRT plastic, which lets solar infrared through to warm the soil, but blocks visible light to stop weeds.) Unfortunately the weeds are enjoying the rain also; I’m going to have to spend a morning trying to get back ahead of them.

 

The Summer Solstice is today. More precisely, it is 2 hours and 51 minutes after this post goes live at 12 AM Alaska Daylight Time.

I don’t live quite far enough North to see the midnight sun from the ground. I have seen it from a light plane, as increased altitude makes the sun look higher above the horizon. (More accurately, the horizon looks lower.) It is possible to drive about 100 miles, admittedly on a dirt road, and see the midnight sun from Eagle Summit, northeast of town.

Officially, it’s the first day of summer. It is the day that the north pole points most nearly directly at the sun, and in the northern hemisphere the days are longest and the sun is highest in the sky. The North Pole actually receives more incoming solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere over the 24 hours of that day than does any other point on Earth. Of course much of it is reflected back to space by sea ice, which is one of the reasons the Arctic sea ice is so important to the Earth’s climate.

It is emphatically not the day that the sun is closest to earth! In fact, the earth will be at its most distant from the sun in less than two weeks, on July 3. Perihelion, when the earth is closest to the sun, was last January—January 3, to be exact.

I don’t drive up to Eagle Summit myself—too crowded if the weather is good, and I’ve been up here so long the light sky at midnight seems normal. But here’s a video from two years ago.

roses edging lawnSummer Solstice is almost here—at 2:51 am next Saturday, to be exact. Our days are almost as long as they get: 21 hours and 45 minutes, with sunrise at 3 this morning and sunset at 12:45 tomorrow morning. Needless to say, it doesn’t really get dark; the sun at its lowest is only a couple of degrees below the northern horizon.

The weather has not been oppressively hot, and next week’s forecast looks like it will stay nice: high sixties to low 70’s in the daytime, with nighttime lows generally in the 40’s. We could use more rain; the fire danger is still high. We do have chances of showers, but the rain is unlikely to make up for the chance of lightning.

Salpiglossis 6:13:14The wild roses edging the lawn are in full bloom, and the delphiniums, still unbudded, are shoulder high. The zucchini are well budded, though not yet in bloom. Many of the annuals planted at the edges of the raised beds are in bloom. I expect more of the perennials will be in bloom next week; the daylilies and the rest of the white iris are showing a little color.

And I’m actually keeping up with the chickweed in the raised beds.

Raised beds as of June 7

Raised beds as of June 7

The sun rose at 3:11 this morning, and will set at 12:31 tomorrow evening. Yes, we have a full 24 hours of daylight and bright twilight combined. Good thing I am not bothered by sleeping in a light room.

The thunderstorm season is here, and I hope we’ll get a little more rain. We’ve had some—about a quarter inch, which is normal for this time of June. But I’m still having to water quite a lot.

Most of the garden is now planted, at least the raised beds: one with zuchinni, one with mints, one with other herbs, and one with strawberries. The wild roses are in full bloom, as are the dwarf columbines and the hardy strawberries. The begonia boxes on the north side have been planted, and I hope to get the hanging geraniums trimmed and up soon. Thank goodness radiation therapy is over and I hope I’ll feel more energetic soon.

Blue Dw Col 6-1-14The sun will rise this morning at 3:32, and set tomorrow morning at 12:11. Yes, we’ve crossed the line where the sun doesn’t set until after midnight. It’s now over 47° above the horizon at noon, but we’re only gaining about 6 minutes a day. Temperatures are now fairly reliably above freezing here, though mixed snow and rain is being forecast for the higher elevations.

It’s a little cooler in the daytime (upper 50’s) but that’s because it’s somewhat cloudy. We’ve even had a little rain, but the fire danger is still high. We might have some scattered to isolated showers, but I don’t expect much rain. I watered some this weekend, and will have to water more next week. I do hope to get the rest of the transplants in the ground Tuesday.

Most of the perennials are up, and a few are even blooming. The white violets and the strawberries have been blooming for some time, and I think the dwarf columbines will be fully open by midweek.  I think a couple of the annual strawberries have even ripened, but the birds got them. I put floating row cover over them today, in hopes I could get some. Definitely spring, and I just wish I felt more energetic. Thank goodness the radiation therapy will be over in about a week!

Herb bed 5-25-14The sun will rise at 3:50 this morning, and set 19 hours 57 minutes later at 11:48 this evening. By next week, it’ll be setting after midnight. The rate of gain of daylight is slowing down by a few seconds a day, now.

It’s also warmed up at night, although cooling down in the daytime, as the air flow has shifted to the southwest, bringing moisture to the interior of Alaska. Not Strawberries 5-25-14much precipitation yet, though we’ve had a few sprinkles and enough clouds to warm things up at night and cool them down during the daytime. With luck, it will stay above freezing now. With even more luck, the fire danger will ease off.

I’m crossing my fingers on the squash and basil, but we planted most of the garden Saturday. I still have the plastic up on the hoops, but I hope I won’t have to use it on anything but the squash. I’ve planted two of the raised beds with mints and herbs, surrounding them with flowers, and tried something new this year with strawberries. If it works, it should keep the berries cleaner and much easier to pick, but I won’t know for sure for a few weeks yet.

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