Thursday, February 01, 2007
Vivi went to the window this morning and announced "The whole town it melting!" I agreed instantly. Anchorage is in this weird zone. Sometimes it acts like it is in the interior of Alaska. We often share in the high pressure that tends to dominate the interior in winter and keeps us fairly dry and calm. Anchorage is sheltered from a great deal of the energy of storms that come into Prince William Sound (thank you, Chugach Range). Most of our winter weather comes across the Bering Sea and goes into the north Pacific and then up Kodiak Island, into Prince William Sound and somewhat into Anchorage. Lately, though, we have been catching the Pineapple Express. A series of vigorous storms has brought warm, moist air all the way from Hawaii and directly into Anchorage. The Chugach can only slow this march.
It is quite a contrast from earlier this winter when we had a long, below zero cold snap. Also, in contrast to the record breaking snow levels we experienced in December and January. Yesterday when I woke up it was +49F and today it is +47F. My mother called from her beach condo in South Carolina and it was +43F. Another thing that comes with these tropical blasts is wind. We have been having lots of winds that are steady in the 30-40 mph range. Sometimes, they are bigger winds. One birdfeeder has been knocked down very consistently. The squirrel has been happy.
So, Vivi is right the whole town IS melting. Look at these photos compared to earlier ones, from last week even. I drove on dry pavement in town on Tuesday, I have mud in my driveway. There is exposed tundra in my yard. The snow has been moved off the mountains, either through wind movement or evaporation, look at Rusty Point! I just wonder what is coming next. Could we get another enormous St. Patrick's Day dump?
Disclaimer: All the above explanation is from a complete non-meteorologist point of view!