Daylight savings, and we’re back to sunrise at 8:27 am. We’re actually on double daylight savings based on longitude, as Alaska Standard Time is already an hour farther east than our true longitude, and 2 hours east for Nome, also in the same time zone. This far north, true time zones are close together.
At any rate the sun will set tonight at 7:37, after a day almost 11 hours 10 minutes long. The Equinox is coming*; only about a week and a half to go, now!
Temperatures this month have been slightly above normal until the weekend, with highs mostly in the 20’s and lows sub-zero – ideal for the ice park, where it’s warm enough that water can be used as glue to weld ice blocks together without being so warm that the ice melts. We did have a couple of inches of snow midweek, and the backyard snow stake now reads very close to two feet. We’re also getting into a cold spell over the weekend (highs not always above zero) but it’s forecast to be pretty short.
*At 8:57 on March 20 ADT, to be precise.
The sun will rise at 7:52 this morning, and set 10 hours 16 minutes later at 6:11 this afternoon. (Sunrise is in the future tense only because I switched my posting time to midnight.) The sun is getting higher in the sky, too, 18.6° at solar noon, now. With our snow cover and clear skies the past week, sunglasses have definitely been needed! The days are now lengthening by 6 ¾ minutes a day. The roads are still icy; we’ve had some brief thaws, but on all but the busiest freeways it’s merely polished the ice.
The ice park is open and the judging of the single block competition is complete. The weather has been close to ideal: sunny, with daytime temperatures just below freezing. First Place abstract and Artist’s Choice went to Carnival, sculpted by Ivan Zuev and Nikkolay Stepanov from Russia.
Carnival: first Place Abstract
First Place Realistic went to Love in Motion, by Victo Jagatan and Joel McRae from the United States.
Love in Motion: First Place Realistic
I looked at the multi-block area Saturday, a few hours after the sculpting started, but there was too much heavy equipment running around to get much in the way of pictures. I’ll try again this afternoon, after my first iMovie class.
The sun will rise at 8:17 this morning, and set 9 hours 35 minutes later at 5:52 this evening. Sunset was still a little early for me to take in the symphony concert, though I didn’t have to worry about leaving the writers’ group early.
It’s still been on the chilly side this past week, with lows well below zero and highs skirting right around zero – about ten degrees below normal for this time of year. Mostly clear skies, which with the snow on the ground and the sun 16° above the horizon means really bright. It might warm up next week, though “warming up” this time of year means highs in the 20’s and lows around zero.
Ice Alaska is due to open today. I’ll go by and get my season ticket, and try to take some videos. I’m taking a class in March on using iMovie, and I need some footage to play with. They’ll just be starting the single-block carving, but the slides, maze and climb-on sculptures should be ready. Might get some pictures to post tomorrow. Meanwhile, here’s the official forecast.
The sun will rise at 8:42 this morning, and set 8 hours and 47 minutes later at 5:29 this afternoon. It gets up to 13.5 ° above the horizon at 1:05 pm now. It’s still cold, with occasional snow flurries. I now have 2 feet of snow on the ground, occasionally marked by moose tracks. Temperatures are generally in the minus 20’s at night and below zero in the daytime, though it might warm up a little by the weekend. Most likely it’ll stay about 10 degrees colder than normal this week, but at least no 40 below is forecast here in the Fairbanks area. The north coast may really be getting it, though.
The roads are still slick, but no more so than usual.
We don’t get much wind here in the valley, but wind chill has been setting records in some parts of the state. That I can do without!
Spring’s approaching! The sun will rise at 9:29 this morning and set a whole 7 hours 12 minutes later at 4:41 this afternoon. We’re gaining a fairly steady 5 ¾ minutes a day in day length. We’re not going to get over winter immediately or even in six weeks, though, no matter what Punxsutawney Phil says. In fifty years up here, I’ve never seen the snow start to melt seriously by the middle of March. Not that it hasn’t been warm for Alaska: we were 15.5°F above normal for January.
The forecast is for above normal temperatures continuing, but that does not mean above freezing, or even above zero, though subzero highs are not forecast until next weekend. Still, I worry a little about that ridge in the jet stream in last night’s forecast. If it continues to move west and locks in over the Bering Strait, we could get 40 below or colder.
Lots of seed catalogs, and my hair is indeed coming in curly at least for the moment, though I don’t expect it to last.
The days are getting longer – 6 hours and 25 minutes today. Sunrise this morning will be 9:52 in the morning, and it won’t set until 4:17 this afternoon. Add to that that it’s high enough in the sky (7° now) that only clouds prevent sunshine on my walls. That doesn’t mean that we expect warm weather – the average temperature here at the end of January is the coldest of the year. Usually.
Would you believe our high temperatures hit freezing last Tuesday and they’ve been at or above freezing every day through Friday? when the official high only reached +30°F? That it actually rained Thursday (practically closing down the Fairbanks area) and reached 45°F Friday? It hit 30 (officially) on Saturday, Sunday a truck on the highway was spraying water on my windshield, and we could reach above-freezing temperatures again today.
The jet stream is still the culprit both for our warmth (it’s blowing from Hawaii to the north over Alaska, locally known as the pineapple express) and for the cold as it turns south from the Arctic Ocean over the central and eastern states.
The air aloft here is actually much warmer than the surface temperatures would suggest. In windy areas such as McKinley Park and Delta, the temperatures are in the 40’s. Here it is cold at the surface due to radiation to space, and the winds are confined to higher elevation. This also means very poor mixing of pollutants. Have a look at the video* at around 14 minutes. That freezing level map implies a really warm bubble of air over our heads. (In case you’re wondering, I’m just south of the comma in the 8,000 feet near the border with Canada.)
*The video of the Sunday night weather program finally was posted around noon.
Meanwhile, here’s the map of freezing level heights.The red lines, showing the height of the top of freezing air, are normally entirely south of mainland Alaska this time of year.
The sun will rise this morning at 10:12 and set almost 5 hours 40 minutes later at 3:52 this afternoon. Day length is increasing fast now, by more than 6 minutes a day, and by the end of the week we’ll be past 6 hours with the sun above the horizon. Not very far above it. We’ll make 5.3° at solar noon today (1:02 pm local time) but the sun’ s getting higher by about a fifth of a degree a day.
We seem to be having another of those winters with wide swings in temperature. Last weekend I stayed home to avoid 40 below temperatures. Two days ago I was worrying about freezing rain (slick roads.) Today’s highs are supposed to be in the 20’s (above) with decreasing clouds. But if you’re really interested, the weather forecast as of last night is below. (Remember how big Alaska is!) These YouTube videos of my favorite weather program are experimental; let me know how you like them.
The jet stream’s wandering, or more exactly it’s a high-amplitude pattern, with warm Pacific air traveling northward over central Alaska, then turning back south from the Arctic Ocean to slam into the central and eastern states. Polar vortex? There’s always a polar vortex, but it usually stays more or less over the Arctic Ocean, where it belongs.
P.S. The news just announced that the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race (Southwest mainland) was so warm there was water on the river ice and bare tundra in places.
I hope it doesn’t really get above freezing tomorrow. We don’t need ice on the roads!
This video is very much an experiment, by the way, and I suspect few of you will want to watch more than a few minutes of a half hour weather program! But in case you want a view of how much weather varies across our state, I am going to try putting the Sunday evening weather forecast program on my Monday “North Pole Weather” blogs. Let me know what you think.
As warm as it got yesterday.
The sun will rise this morning at 10:33, and set 4 hours and 58 minutes later at 3:26 this afternoon. At 4° above the horizon the sun is occasionally visible through the trees from my window. It cooled off quite a bit last weekend, though – the electronic thermometer was stuck on LL (below -40) all day Sunday. And that’s temperature, not wind chill. Serves me right for commenting on how it’s often warm here when it’s cold in the Eastern half of the US.
Fairbanks airport, near noon last Tuesday
It’s supposed to cloud over today, which should warm things up. I certainly hope so. My critique group met yesterday afternoon, but I just couldn’t see driving in through the ice fog. It’s so bad downwind, or rather down-drift, of the army power plant that there are warning signs on the highway. I just didn’t want to take the risk.
I flew down to Anchorage to see the cancer surgeon Tuesday, and everything looks great. Apparently the blood marker is going to work fine for me. And the seed catalogs are starting to arrive! Can it be long until spring?
P.S. The 9:15 am temperature is up to -33°F, so maybe I can get in a badly-needed trip for groceries today.
The sun will rise at 10:46 this morning and set 4 hours 22 minutes later, at 3:08 pm. We’re now gaining almost 4 ½ minutes a day, and it will be 5 before the end of the week. Should have no problem getting home after my dentist appointment today, unless that freezing rain materializes.
It’s been snowing a little but not particularly cold and not raining, thank goodness. I was worried for a bit when I saw the weather forecast Saturday, which put us in an area of mixed rain and snow, but it’s not that warm – forecast high today around 20°F. That’s a very pleasant day for Interior Alaska at this time of year.
Forecast Sunday night for today’s jet stream. (Source)
Wondering why we have it so warm while the news is all about cold? Well, that cold air over the central and eastern states is being dumped out of the Arctic. Something has to replace it, and we’re getting the warm air heading back north over us. Since we have the Alaska Range to our south, most of the moisture yesterday fell on the south side of the range. We had only a few sprinkles of snow. Today looks wetter to me, as the local direction of the jet stream is parallel to the valleys. In fact, this morning’s weather forecast on the radio mentioned light freezing rain as a possibility. I just hope the weather lets me fly to Anchorage tomorrow – it’s on the south side of the range!