The sun will “rise” this morning at 10:39, and set barely 4 hours later at 2:45 this afternoon. The short days of winter are definitely here, with the sun getting only 5 times its own diameter above the southern horizon at noon.
We’re still getting winter storms. Not cold and snow, we’ve had a huge slug of warm, wet air aloft that has given us a few more sprinkles of freezing rain! But the air near the ground is still below freezing, so the result is mostly slippery roads. The depth of the snow pack has actually decreased over the last couple of days though the water content has increased, and we’re now below a foot of snow on the ground.
I’m very glad I was able to trade tickets for The Nutcracker Ballet and the Christmas symphony concert for transportation to both. I have a medical appointment (cancer doctor) near noon later this week, but aside from that and can’t-put-it-off shopping (which I try to get done on the same trips as medical appointments) I’m staying home and writing or watching Christmas DVD’s while riding the stationary bike. I watched 3 versions of The Nutcracker last week in preparation for the live ballet, and have to say that the live performance held up well. I hope to finish The Hogfather today. I’m happy to say I’m back to 2 hours or more of exercise a day, even if my balance is still shaky.
The upper left photo, by the way, was taken out of my south window with maximum optical zoom shortly after sunrise Sunday.The one on the lower right was taken by the University photographer, Todd Paris, at the Christmas concert. What did I ask for? Hair and a clear health check on the pesky cancer!
P.S. We had another 3″ of wet snow after dark Sunday night, so when it got light enough to see the snow stake, it was back at 14″ again, with the temperature up to 30° F which is ridiculously warm for this time of year. Far too slippery to drive unnecessarily.
The sun will rise at 10:23 this morning, and set 4 hours and 34 minutes later at 2:57 this afternoon. The roads are still treacherous, and probably will stay that way for a good part of the winter, and the temperatures last weekend were well below zero. We did get a little more snow, and now have more than a foot on the ground. It’s cleared off now, though, and that means cold! The ground radiates heat upward, and with no clouds most of the heat goes straight out to space.
It’s reached the point where if I want to go shopping I must leave the house by sunrise and then go to no more than a couple of stores so I can start home no later than 2pm. Almost didn’t get home before dark Saturday.
Ravens are tricksters and gods in Native legends. There’s nothing uncommon about ravens up here, winter or summer, but I most often see them at road kill or dumpsters. Friday one was sitting in one of my trees, no doubt hoping to see something he could scavenge!
I’ll finish with this week’s picture of how my hair is growing back after chemo.
The sun near its highest.
The sun will rise at 10:01 this morning, and set 5 hours 12 ½ minutes later at 3:14 this afternoon. The darkness is definitely closing in, though the reduction in day length each day has slowed down as midwinter approaches. The sun never gets as much at 5° (10 times its own diameter) above the horizon – never above the trees south of my house. Out driving, it seems it’s always in my eyes, and appointments and shopping need to be carefully timed.
Driving is a pain this time of year. This is looking nearly due south close to solar noon.
Our forecast for the next week is mostly cloudy with some chance of snow and snow showers, and temperatures going back and forth through 0°F. That’s about normal for this time of year, though it can be much warmer or colder. Traditionally, we can expect 40 below weather any time near or after Thanksgiving, though this year’s forecast is nearer 0.
This year I’m looking forward to attending two annual events that I normally miss because it’s too dark to drive. A friend will be driving me, and I’m getting the tickets for both of us. I already have those for the Symphony’s holiday concert, and for the first time I’ll manage to see the North Star Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker. I’ll have to dig out my DVDs (I have three versions, not counting the Disney one) and compare. Maybe I’ll even write up a review.
I think my hair is coming in wavy, though most of it’s too short to be sure.
Clear skies Wednesday, 32 below zero (F) and the sun is effectually gone for the winter at my house. This was taken near solar noon yesterday, looking out my south window. Doesn’t help that the kitchen-living room heating zone has gone out.
P.S. it’s back this morning. Could a need for new batteries in the thermostat do that? I did change them yesterday.
The sun will rise this morning at 9:38, and set just less than 6 hours later, at 3:33 this afternoon. If the sky should clear today (which I don’t expect) the sun might shine briefly through the trees to the south, but it certainly won’t rise above them – it’s now less than 6° above the horizon at its highest. Given next week’s forecast, the sun probably won’t touch my windows again until well into January.
Winter may be a month away officially, but that didn’t save us from two winter storms last week, with a mixture of rain and snow making the roads so slick that school was canceled. (It takes quite a bit to cancel schools in Alaska.) I considered myself lucky that the power was out here for only a few hours; the wind (unusual here in winter) took down a number of trees. Small branches sticking out of the snow were all I noticed in the yard. I don’t expect more wind (though given the direction of the jet stream it wouldn’t surprise me) but the forecast for the next week is cloudy with snow showers. And some people still don’t have power.
I didn’t dare try driving until Saturday, and kept well below the speed limits then. There’s a coating of ice on the roads that will last until it wears off – not a good start for the winter. Outdoor latches are frozen, too – I had to break some open. At least the neighbor who is kind enough to plow my driveway managed to get the storm door to close!
My hair is actually getting long enough to feel rough against the way it wants to grow. No sign it might come in curly, though.
My earlier post had iPhone photos only, as I forgot to pack the connecting cord for the Cannon. Here are a few photos I took November 4 near Ithaca, New York, walking or with the car stationary.
These are in the order they were taken.
Lake Cayuga closer
Again, Lake Cayuga is in the background.
Back yard 11-14-13
In Alaska it’s above freezing (rare for this time of year) and we had mixed rain and snow last night — enough that schools are closed again today, driving is extremely hazardous, and power is out rather spottily throughout the area. (Mine went out around 1 am and came on just before 7. ) My regular station is off the air — lacks power to broadcast, according to their e-mail — and the ones I could get were intended to be music. I did manage to get a bit of news around 7 which was all I heard about school closing, the fact that many traffic lights were out, and the widespread local power outages. I’ll add an up to date shot of my yard with the current storm when it gets light enough to take a picture, just for contrast and “Why did I fly home?” The water content of the snowpack has actually increased a lot more than the relatively minor increase in depth would suggest, and the wind and the warm temperatures (it was actually above freezing when I took the picture) have pretty well removed the snow from the bushes.
I’m home again, and back on standard time. The sun will rise this morning at 9:14 am, and will set after 6 hours 41 minutes at 3:55 this evening. It’s only about 7.6° above the horizon at noon, now, and there’s enough snow on the ground that what little radiation reaches us is mostly reflected right back to space.
We had a winter storm over the weekend. Snow this time of year is welcome; it helps insulate the ground and keeps the frost from getting too deep into the ground. This storm, however, had enough warm air aloft to produce freezing rain mixed with the snow. Not a good start to the winter. Luckily, I restocked the refrigerator and freezer Friday, so I just stayed home and avoided the slippery roads Saturday and Sunday. But we did go from about an inch of snow when I got home to nearly 8” by sunset yesterday. Today? I’ll find out when it gets light.
I think my balance is a little better, and my hair is still returning.
P. S. As of 11:30 am it looks as if the snow has settled a little, to about 6″ depth. But we are also being told to brace for another winter storm later in the week.
Yesterday the sun shone in Ithaca, and my brother-in-law took my suster and I for a drive to see the last of the autumn leaves. It froze hard last night, so leaves were falling fast, but there was a little color left. I took about half of the photos with my iPhone (for which I remembered to bring the cable) and half with my Cannon, for which the cable is back in Alaska. I thought I’d share a few of the iPhone photos.
Most of the iPhone photos were taken through the windshield while the car was moving.
On the streets of Ithaca. Notice how many leaves are on the ground.
Road on the west side of Lake Cayuga.
The sun rose in North Pole at 8:50 this morning, and will set 7 hours 27 ½ minutes later at 4:18, never rising more than 9.6° above the horizon. There is only a trace of snow on the ground, but this time of year even a little change in the reflectivity of the ground keeps the temperature down. Cloudy skies and occasional snow or freezing drizzle seem to be all that is forecast until I return home. I hope the snow isn’t too deep by the time I get back, though temperatures are still forecast to be above 0° F.
In Ithaca, New York, where I am right now, the sun rose at 6:43 this morning and will set 10 hours 13 minutes later at 4:55 after a maximum height above the horizon of about 32°. It was in the 50’s last week, but Sunday was snow (non-sticking) with temperatures in the 30’s. Today it’s supposed to be sunny, with temperatures in the 40’s. Sadly the leaves are well past their peak, but there is still enough color to enjoy.
It’s still quite a change from Sierra Vista. Sunrise there was 6:44 am, sunset will be 5:31, and the day length will be 10 hours 47 minutes. The sun has a higher arc, too, reaching 42.2 minutes, and the temperatures should be in the 70’s today. North Pole is really going to seem cold when I go home.
And my hair is still coming back from chemo.
San Pedro River
The sun will rise in North Pole this morning at 9:04 and set 9 hours 2 minutes later at 6:06 pm. At its highest, it was 14° above the horizon. It’s still above freezing in the daytime, though it’s freezing nights. And most precipitation is still liquid – a rarity at this time of year. As of 7:30, the temperature was 25° F and the high was expected to be 41. But I’m not in North Pole today.
Here in Sierra Vista, Arizona, the sun rose at 6:32 and will set 11 hours 12 minutes later at 5:44 this evening. It’s in the high 70’s in the daytime, and barely below 50 at night. We had a picnic at the San Pedro River Saturday – a little hot in the sun but just right for shorts in the shade. The river is completely hidden by the tall dead grass; those trees are on the far bank. Not too many birds, the summer visitors have headed back south and the Alaskans aren’t here yet. But the place was jumping (literally) with grasshoppers.
We had lunch Sunday on the patio, but it got almost too hot.