Saturday, January 12, 2013

More overcast days, sloshy grounds in the Glacier Valley

Wet, sloshy snow is here today. Not quite rain, at least not at the base of the ski resort. There was rain right on the coast. None of it stopped the skiers and riders from taking advantage of the weekend. The temperature at the T in Girdwood remained at 33° all day. The photo above shows how much it was snowing, there was difficult visibility at the top of the mountain. The Daylodge was dripping wet inside, puddles everywhere. 

Walking around outside was a challenge, there is not ice on the surfaces, just slush, so whether you are wearing cleats or not doesn’t make a big difference. The snow is sloshy and stepping in the slosh is almost like hydroplaning. Walk diligently not quickly. 

The precipitation has remained all day into night and the temperature remains the same. With this new round of overcast days, if you have indoor plants, be sure they are very close to the window for maximum lighting. If that is not possible, keep them under a light for 5-6 hours. A grow light or blue light is best, but flourescent will work, even incandescent. Any light is good for your indoor house plant. If it is not receiving enough light leaves will yellow, or be very pale green and weak. However, house plants will also be shedding leaves at this time in preparation for growing new leaves this spring. A dried leaf from a lower part of the plant that falls off may be normal. Remember, most importantly, not to over water with low light, this will suffocate the roots and that is not good!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tropical warmth heading our way

As we woke this morning, we could hear the sound of warm air. What does that sound like? Blobs of snow falling off the trees onto the house roof. The warm air approaches, it is 33° this morning. The air is calm at least the heat is not surging yet, unlike the predictions of rising flood waters as snow melts this weekend. Check the NOAA forecast for south central, the flood warning is in red. 

There is a very grey sky over Glacier Valley today, and these clouds, they are not the kind you want to see in a ski town, in January. Those are tropically influenced clouds, our second round of pine apple express for the season. These photos are from Moose Meadows in Girdwood. In addition to the clouds rolling in, the air is quite humid. The snow is warm and sticky, thus requiring wax even on wax-less nordic skis. A nice evening none-the-less since the temperature was pleasant for being outside. 

Beautiful picture perfect winter day

This morning Girdwood residents woke up to a little over an inch of fresh snow. There was some blue sky too showing off the tops of the surrounding mountains and their fresh ultra white snow. It was 29° in the valley with no wind. We had a beautiful drive into Anchorage, and surprise of surprises, it was cloudy in the big city. Very odd, it is always the other way around. 

There seemed to be several layers of temperature gradients, as we turned out onto the Seward Highway, there were layers of clouds to the south near the Hope nook. Very lovely light shining through. 

On the way back to Girdwood at 9pm, the temperature went up near Bird to 36° and there was a stiff wind making it strenuous to keep a car in line with the highway. Thankfully, the temperature is still below freezing in the Glacier Valley and there has been no wind to knock the snow off the trees. Will be enjoying it to its fullest as the weather forecast is for warm air and rain to return Saturday night.

The poor top of the mountain has the one safety flood light on, Seven Glaciers is quiet and lonely until the Tram is repaired. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Raven really did bring the sun back today

There was some bright morning alpen glow on the Chugach mountains this morning. Its a blue bird day in Glacier Valley. No new snow overnight, just clear skies letting out all the pent up heat. Temperature is 18° this morning in Girdwood, brisk and welcome! We can really see how well the tops of the mountains have been receiving snow though we at home were being pelted with rain. There are some great wind slab formations on the edges showing clearly how the wind was blowing. Remember to check the avalanche notices before heading out backcountry. 

Driving down to The Grind this morning, there was a conspiracy of ravens in the Merch parking lot. Not that it is unusual to see a few together, but this was 10 ravens all investigating the parking lot. Conspiracy is an older term for the group, you may want to call it a flock, but I would consider a flock a whole lot more, like hundreds. Did you know the raven is considered a song bird? It is considered, obviously, the largest songbird. The common raven exists in a large range all over North America, Alaskans are not privileged. As an omnivorous eater, it may have found some discarded garbage in that parking lot. One may have found something and if so, it called the others. They do this in the winter to help each other as they are a social lot. All Alaskans should know the raven is one of the smartest birds and one with the most vocal characteristics. But we may not have known the word raven actually descends from old German and Germanic languages. Its genus, Corvus, was given by Linnaeus. Corvus being derived as the Latin word for raven. So, though the raven has brought the sun back to the Arctic, the raven is known all over the world. 

Frost crystals return to all surfaces today with the clear cold air. Love it for now, snow returns Thursday and possibly warmer air by the weekend. These are some of "downtown" Girdwood's improvements that came with our Town Square plan. Nice to have seats for those waiting on the shuttle! The park portion of the square improvement is expected to receive new plantings this summer. As for now, the new curbs installed with the paving have disappeared under snow and ice. As it should be.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Real good snow in Girdwood Tuesday, finally!

Yipee! Winter has returned to Glacier City! It has been snowing in Girdwood since around 4am, and it looks like about 3-4 inches at the T and the base. Alyeska reports less on their snow report, not sure why, there is definitely more on the ground at houses nearby. The snow is the best, its falling slow so it is not wet and heavy anymore. Visibility is probably not great on the Seward Hiway, but at least its not wet! The temperature in Girdwood has dropped to 29° and is forecasted to fall further tonight ensuring the snow will stay!  There is a bit of a wind shaking snow off the trees !occasionally.

You can see from these photos looking toward downtown Girdwood (above) and Max's Mountain (below) it is snowing quite thick! This and the views from Alaska 511 weather cams show some heavy snow with low visibility.

Great bird observations, further appreciating the warmer weather for that aspect. I have seen quite a few chickadees poking around tree trunks. So nice to see other life about besides humans (and dogs). My husband has been observing an eagle in old Girdwood. 

I am looking forward to checking on the quality of Moose Meadows today. It has been too soon for the Girdwood Nordic Ski club to groom the trails, check their site later for updates. 

Moose Meadows was coated with light fluffy snow and the scene was gorgeous gracing us with a sunset as seen below. It will be a few days before the Nordic Club can groom since the snow is on ice in most places but in many other locations there are slushy pot holes. A few determined folks took on the loop, and we had a wonderful time! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

A little cooler air and more snow in Girdwood

It is a few degrees cooler in Girdwood this morning, 33, and snow is sticking at sea level. There is avalanche mitigation at the resort and on the Seward hiway, check Alaska 511 for delay locations.

Here is our view today, it was very white most of the day. You can see the snow line has come down a bit, its about 400 feet! Yea! The cool air is settling back in. There was snow off and on today, the best news is there was no rain. The roads, however, are still wet and slushy. I did hear from folks that came in from Anchorage that there were delays of up to 45 minutes on the highway due to avalanche control. 

Something that has been fun about the weather warming up is seeing birds again. Magpies have been all around the house, investigating one tree after another. I have also see a pair of Steller Jays recently. One day last week a flock of some small birds flew overhead from a tall tree near the T in Girdwood. I know they have been finding food, not only do the stash nuts and seeds in tree bark, but I heard that a mosquito was seen near the park this past weekend. Thank goodness some more freezing weather is coming!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Expect at least three more wet days in Girdwood

This morning it is 35° and drizzly rain yet again. My coworkers that drive in from Anchorage tell me its cooler and drier there, so be prepared for wet roads when you round the bend on Turnagain Arm. Our forecast is for this same warm weather at least through Wednesday. Who can believe this low pressure is hovering for so long?

For those who love fresh snow, there is some, 11 inches worth, at the top of Alyeska. The resort opened chair 6 yesterday and it will be open again today. Check the snow report for the most accurate information. Winds are very light so there should be no stopping the lifts. The poor aerial tram, however, is going to be closed for a long while. These tram cars are made in Switzerland so that should give you an indication that they and their parts are not items you just go to town to buy. Just a warning to expect a wait for Alyeska to have repair the tram that suffered an accident in high winds.

The skies really tried to give us snow today. The precipitation was back and forth, rain, snow, rain, and at one point big fat flakes. Sadly, they turned to liquid upon landing in the puddles all over the base of the mountain and in the parking lots. The temperature this evening is still 35°. The snow is trying to stick, here we can see the snow piled up from the driveway that was melting and turning to ice. It has a nice layer of snow settled on top. Reports from the active ones, it was like spring skiing today.