Monday, March 30, 2009
From Southern spring to Alaskan winter
I'm still struggling to adjust to the very, very different weather and climate conditions up here. I left Louisiana on a warm spring day, with temperatures forecast to be in the high 70's (Fahrenheit, of course): and landed in Alaska in bright sunshine, but with drifting clouds of volcanic ash threatening the city, and with the temperature at a moderate (or so everyone tells me) 28°! It's been pretty steady at that level since Saturday evening.
I woke up this morning to find that a further 3" of snow had fallen overnight. Very pretty, but to my delicate Southern sensibilities, very cold! Here's the early-morning view from the front door.
Later this afternoon, Miss D. took me into town to do some shopping. She warned me not to think of Anchorage as a dirty town: it's just that they use dirt and gravel on the roads here, not salt. (Salt lowers the melting temperature of ice, she tells me: but when the temperature of air, road and everything in between is much, much colder than freezing point, it doesn't help to use salt, as the ice won't melt at all. Instead, the main roads are snowplowed, and minor ones scraped, then a layer of dirt and gravel is spread on the ice and snow to provide at least some grip. Most vehicles also use winter tires, studded for greater traction. As a result, the roads are very dirty, and so are the vehicles, as shown below: but that simply can't be helped. The rains of spring and summer will clean things up for a few months - until next winter . . .
We're home again for the evening, and I'll be helping to make egg-drop soup and salads and garlic bread for some visitors, friends of mine who're arriving to renew old acquaintance. It's going to be another cold evening. Arriving a few minutes ago, I photographed new icicles on the eaves over the garage. If you look closely (click the picture for a larger view) you'll see some of them look rather dusty. That's the volcanic ash from Mount Redoubt, which has fallen, been covered by new snow, and is now melting into the icicles.
Now to cook something nice and warm!