Thursday, December 27, 2012

Warm temperatures create icy roads and melt snow

Yesterday the snow was still on the trees through the morning even though the temperature was warming to 33°. By 3 pm, the temperature was up to 34 and it was raining. The ground surfaces, roads, driveways, sidewalks, were all ice. Nothing but ice. It was very difficult to drive or walk without cleats. 

December 27 look at the difference:

December 26

By 6 pm, the temperature was 36° and I heard skiing was very wet.

Today, Thursday, we woke to the day at 36° and all the snow is off the trees. All the icicles have melted off eaves, and most roofs have shed their snow load. Currently there is a mix of rain and snow, the snow being very wet. The local road crew has switched to the road grader to break up the ice on Alyeska Highway. Yesterday and this morning numerous rounds of ordinance fire where heard from the Resort in attempts to set off avalanches before opening. Yesterday I was informed by an aid room attendant that numerous avalanches kept sliding all over the Alyeska ski area, both natural and man-made. Again, a warning to check the back country conditions before heading out into uncontrolled conditions. Some folks who attempted to snow machine in Turnagain Pass on Wednesday told me it was very messy, sloshy and hard to maneuver in. Check the CNFAIC for advisories. There are avalanche advisories with professional Forest Service employee observations and evaluations. 

If you are driving the Seward Highway, check Alaska 511 for status. Check the box to show the web cams and then click on the camera icons. This will bring up a current weather condition box, very handy.

If you are in Anchorage or are traveling to town from remote areas of the municipality, take your christmas tree in for recycling. See this Anchorage Daily News article for information.

Be safe and enjoy the day off!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Heavy, white, blizzard Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Were ever you are, I hope this little glimpse of relentless snow makes you feel the spirit of the season. It has been snowing heavily since yesterday. At one point last night, about 10p, the temperature had warmed up to 36° at the turn off to Girdwood on the Seward. As a result, the snow was very slushy and wet. It was so wet it was very heavy to shovel off the driveway. At that time the temperature was 36° at the T.

Today, however, the temperature is cooler, down to 33°, we’d like to to drop a few more just to be sure the snow doesn’t melt for the skiers! It has been windier here in Glacier Valley for Christmas day. The Resort had to delay opening due to avalanche mitigation and did not run the new Ted’s Express due to high winds. Below is a view toward the ski mountain, you can just barely see the lights on the mountain the snow is so thick. With the lower temperature, I can see the snow is not as wet as yesterday. The flakes are not falling as hard indicating they are not as heavy. We like that best! 

All of you adventurous skiers, please be aware there is an avalanche warning issued by NOAA and the CNFAIC. See the Special Weather Statement link. I know all this fresh stuff is tempting, but remember, its wet and it has fallen on several layers of frost which make for weak layers. The snow needs to build up heavy enough to smash those frost crystals. Or, let the avalanches occur naturally before you venture out! 

I hope every one is home safe to celebrate the day, warm and cozy, sharing quiet time with friends or family. For those of us not home, lets think warm thoughts and hope everyone sent overseas at their government’s request returns home soon. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

We don't have to dream, its a white Christmas

Snow is falling in Girdwood, since late last night. But not a whole lot yet, check Alyeska Resort's snow report for latest measurements. As of 8 am it was only 4 inches new stuff at the top. The wind is blowing too, so be prepared for a windy drive. The good news is the temperature is up, I am recording 30° at the T and the big branches of spruce are swaying in the wind.

Don't forget to check Alaska 511 for driving conditions and CNFAIC for the radar. I look forward to some nice new snow photos.

Santa will definitely need Rudolph tonight! Girdwood, Prince William Sound, and the Kenai are in the midst of a heavy snow storm. Girdwood is experiencing moderate winds. Not high enough to close the Tram at Alyeska Resort, but they are on watch. 

I knew it was snowing by early early morning. How do you know without being outside? When there is no road noise. This is due as we know to the snow absorbing the pressure of the tires and insulating them from the road. Its so quiet when it snows....until...the wind. When thumps are heard on the roof, and not on Christmas Eve, that indicates the wind is blowing snow off the tree branches. Without the wind, the snow is so quiet. 

Along with the heavy snow, the clouds and frontal pattern have raised the temperature. It is up to 30° today, it has risen nearly the whole 30 in 24 hours. The snow is rather wet and sticky. Snowmen and snowballs can be made today, a rarity for us. Usually the snow is powdery dry in Glacier Valley. 

Santas skied for free at Alyeska Resort today. There were quite a few, even a couple of elves and a few Mrs. Clauses. Here is a group preparing to ski.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A blizzard in the forecast

With NOAA issuing a blizzard warning, snow is sure to arrive soon. The blizzard warning is for tonight through Monday night with snow in the forecast for most of the week. Thank goodness it will break the cold spell, for now.

The temperature is 3° in Girdwood this morning. Expect blue skies for the early part of the day.

Tomorrow is Christmas eve, anyone dressed like Santa will ski free at Alyeska Resort, check their site for more details.