Category: Weather and Climate

North Pole Weather 9/15/14

Backyard 9-9-14In Fairbanks, the sun will rise at 7:13 in the morning at set 13 hours later at 8:17 this evening. I’m not in Fairbanks, but unexpectedly in Anchorage, where the sun will rise at 7:27 and set at 8:21. Sorry I don’t have much more, but I find myself unexpectedly hospitalized in Anchorage.

Sunflowers Tina

Jut to prove sunflowers can be grown in Alaska

Just to prove sunflowers can be grown in Alaska.

The sun will rise this morning at 6:53, and set 13 hours 50 minutes later at 8:42 this evening, giving us a day 6 minutes 40 seconds shorter than yesterday. We now have true astronomical night (sun more than 18° below the horizon) for a couple of hours, starting after midnight. The first two days in September gave us more rain than we get in an average whole month of September, so while it’s clear right now, I’m not counting on it staying that way. Clear this time of year means frost danger, anyway.And the forecast for this week is mostly clear to slightly cloudy, with forecast lows in the high 20’s to low 30’s.


This one was taken when I was a postdoc at NCAR in the early 70’s/

Alaska and sunflowers are a chancy combination in September, as we’re already looking over our shoulders for Jack Frost. (Looking over our shoulders? We’ve already had several hard frosts.) But I know where to find a garden of 6 ‘ sunflowers, and I stopped and took a picture on my way to the Farmers’ Market last week. (Good thing I did it in late August, because when I went by two days ago the frost had taken them.) I also have a nice sunflower photo I took sometime in 1971, while I was at NCAR and taking wildflower photos on the Mesa. So while I didn’t purchase or plant a sunflower in Tina Downey’s memory, I am posting these two photos in honor of a much-missed blogging voice. Rest in peace, Tina.

Plastic on the squash bed

Plastic on the squash bed

The sun will rise this morning at 6:31, and set 14 hours and 36 minutes later at 9:08 this evening. We’re now losing about 6 minutes 43 seconds a day. It’s starting to feel like fall, though, if not quite like winter. The official airport temperature hasn’t dropped below freezing yet, though it reached 33 °F Saturday morning, and I’m pretty sure it was colder out my way.

Frost nip on the pineapple sage

Frost nip on the pineapple sage

I’ve put the plastic cover on the squash, put row cover on the potted mints, and started bringing the rest of the potted plants into the garage overnight. I also separated the hoses from the outdoor faucets. Even “frostproof” fittings can be damaged by freezing if the hoses are left attached. So far the only actual frost damage I’ve seen was discoloration of the growing tips of the pineapple sage. The forecast suggests slight warming next week, but lows are still forecast in the 30’s.

It’s dried out a little, though it’s now official: 2014 was the wettest summer in nearly a hundred year of records in Fairbanks. Certainly it’s the first summer I’ve had to do almost no watering!

P.S. September 2: already in September we’ve had more precipitation than is normal for all of September, and frost is predicted for Wednesday night.

Sunflower QuiltThe sun will rise today at 6:10 and set 15 hours and 24 minutes later at 9:34 pm. I can no longer drive places in the evening without checking the time, and we now have astronomical twilight (sun between 12 and 18° below the horizon) for about 2 hours just after midnight.

Lemon PhaleonopsisWe’ve had a few more showers, but we still haven’t reached 2” for August. We are almost half an inch above normal, though. Temperature has also been slightly above normal, but that’s still mostly in the high 60’s in the daytime. As far as the forecast is concerned, mostly cloudy with chances of rain and normal temperatures for the next week.

I’m thinking more of house plants now, and couldn’t resist an orchid. Hope I can get it to rebloom.

Quilt BThe sun will rise this morning at 5:48 , and set 16 hours 12 minutes later at 9:59 this evening. It will drop 12° below the horizon tonight—almost astronomical twilight.

It’s mostly been in the 70’s or high 60’s, with nighttime lows still well above freezing. We’ve had a little more rain, but mostly it’s just been occasional showers, and the forecast for next week is more of the same.

Sharon came by Thursday. She helped me with the chickweed and gave the herbs and mints a much-needed haircut. Some of the herbs, such as the pineapple sage and the parsley, were shading out the others. The trimmings will go to people who can use them – I use fresh herbs, but not that many! She also helped trim the lower leaves on the zucchini, finding a 7 ½ pounder that I took to the food bank Friday. I took a photo with my iPhone, but I can’t seem to get it to import*, so another quilt from the quilt show will have to do for today.

*Turned out to be the USB daisy chain. Here it is.Zucchini

Pink Lillies 8:9:14The sun will rise at 5:25 this morning, and set 17 hours later at 10:25 this evening. I’m glad to say it has finally quit raining and warmed up, though there are a few showers forecast this week.

The last few days of the fair were quite nice, with temperatures in the 70’s. I managed a brief visit most days, though I concentrated on the horse shows. The giant vegetables weren’t all that gigantic this year, due no soubt to the relatively cool, wet, summer. The lilies are finally blooming in my garden – one of the few plants that are perennial up here. I’m also getting a few late strawberries.

For most of the summer, the local chapter of the Alaska Writers’ Guild has been selling (or at least trying to sell) books at the Farmers’ Market. That’s over for the season, as two of the three authors are though for the season, and I’m having problems with cancer again.

Not too bad, I hope, but my CA125 is rising and I just went through a CT scan. The radiation oncologist says no immediate problem, and I’m seeing the doctor in Anchorage the second week in September which he seemed to think was fine. I do hope I don’t need chemotherapy again.

Weather Update 8/5/14

We had another .34” of rain before midnight, and I heard thunder several times. That puts us at 1.38” for the month, so we’re still pushing the seasonal record. I’ll try for a few more quilt photos today, though the current weather is drizzle and fog.

Quilt 42

Quilt 45The sun will rise this morning at 5:01, and set tonight at 10:53. We now have almost 3 hours of nautical twilight.

It has remained rainy. We didn’t quite set a new record for July, though we only missed it by .18“. We beat the June and July combined record by over 2”, and the greatest 48 hour total for July though, so you could say we’ve had a damp summer. August? 1.04” so far, so we’re definitely still in the running for the wettest summer of all time.

It used to be a truism that it always rained during the Tanana Valley State Fair, which started last Friday. Yesterday was warm and sunny, but the rest of the week looks questionable. I’m keeping my poncho in the car. I did get to the quilt show Saturday, in spite of the rain. I might show some more photos later.

The sun will rise today at 4:34 in the morning, and set 18 hours 38 minutes later at 11:15 this evening. We’re losing almost 7 minutes a day, now. The weather is still cool and wet; we might get back into the 70’s by midweek.

July probably won’t set a new record for precipitation, but it will be close. Right now we’re sitting on 5.78” for the month, and I think another .2” would push us over.

The lawn and garden are lush, and the weeds are thriving all too well. The squash aren’t doing as well as they would if it were a little warmer, but they have reached the harvestable stage. The delphiniums are getting indecently tall—two or three feet over the 7’ top of the lattice. I think I have three varieties of Maltese cross: the dark red I bought, a much smaller-flowered pink I started from seed, and a few volunteers that I think are hybrids: large like the reds, but a distinctly lighter color. I wish it would warm up and stop raining, though.

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.


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