Snow stake around noon, November 22, 2010

I live in North Pole. Not at the North Pole, but a suburb of Fairbanks, Alaska. This time of year it’s normally dark except for a few hours around noon, and reliably below freezing.

Not this year.

It’s not only above freezing, it’s raining, and expected to keep raining through tomorrow. Of course the ground is well cold-soaked, and there are ten inches of snow on the ground, so the roads are–to put it mildly–treacherous. Like people can’t stand up, let alone cars. My paved patio has about a quarter inch of clear, wet ice. Schools are closed. A friend’s dog couldn’t stand up.

Of course it won’t get warm enough to melt anything, so we’ll have ice on the roads until it wears off (takes several weeks on the heavily traveled roads, until spring on the side roads.)

Living as I do on a gravel road, with gravel large enough to poke through most ice, I thought I could drive the tenth of a mile to the mailbox and at least check my mail. Ha! The car, an all-wheel drive with Blizzak tires, felt like it was floating all the way, and when I touched the brakes, the anti-lock system engaged at once (without slowing the car.) I didn’t even try the paved road.

I surely hope it cools off by Wednesday.