The sun will rise (well, it would skitter along the horizon if I had a flat, clear horizon) at 10:47 this morning, and will set at 2:42 this afternoon, for a theoretical 3 hours 55 minutes of daylight. Not that sunrise (and sunset) are exactly precise this time of year, as the sun appears to be moving almost horizontally. At its highest it is 2.3° above the horizon, and there isn’t much change day to day now. Not that it’s easy to tell, with cloud cover most of the time. On the solstice the sun will be 2° — four solar diameters – above the horizon at noon. It may be fall by the calendar, but it’s winter outdoors.

Alaska’s been hit and is still being hit by a string of storms coming out of the Bering Sea, but the heavy snow isn’t getting this far inland. We haven’t even had enough to make up for the settling during the thaw — under 10″ on the ground. At least it’s cloudy most of the time, with temperatures going back and forth through 0°F – balmy for this time of year.

It’s what I think of as the pink and pastel blue time of year during the short days. When the sun is shining, the snow-covered trees are pink where they are in sunlight and blue in the shadows, because the sun never gets high enough to lose the sunrise/set colors.

P.S. 3 pm: Light snow, temperatures just below freezing, blowing snow and threat of freezing drizzle — roads are terrible. I had an appointment in Fairbanks at noon, and on my way to the Richardson Highway (the only way from North Pole into Fairbanks without driving 15 miles north around Fort Wainright) I heard on the radio to avoid the Rich because of accidents. I saw cars in the ditch and the traffic was crawling, but I did manage to get through both ways. No more driving today, though!