Saturday, January 26, 2008

WTF Weather

After my last post, whining about the weather, it warmed up enough to take the photo on the left. Then 14 inches of snow landed around my house, from two separate storms. After hours of snow shoveling (I have a really long driveway), when everything looked neat and tidy, we were hit with 40 mile an hour winds. Which blew the snow back onto the driveway. Then the temperatures plunged to 40 below zero. This winter's weather is suffering from extreme mood swings.

Unless you live above, say, the 45th parallel, Alaska's weather is inexplicable. After 30+ years of living here, I still have many WTF moments. I grew up in central California, where every 20 some years it'd get cold enough to snow. If you wanted snow, you drove up to the Sierras. So imagine my surprise to find myself living somewhere where it had to warm up to snow! Somewhere where the higher in altitude you got, the warmer it was. Somewhere where fog could be frozen. Somewhere where, on a truly cold day, you can fling a hot cup of coffee into the air and watch it float back to earth in the form of little, brown snowflakes. After all these years, I'm still bemused.

4 comments:

Phantom Midge said...

I love the coffee story...That would be something to see!

I tried to test the idea of frying an egg on the sidewalk in Texas (which only made the fire ants happy with a free lunch)and Georgia, but it only worked (and by worked, I mean the thin edges turned white)in Saudi Arabia.

Colin Cleavage said...

What an amazing place, I'd love to visit! I've experienced -28C in Alberta and Russia, and found it quite pleasant as long as the air is still and you've got a nice drink indoors. Thanks for the link by the way :-)

MizMagee said...

Midge - I kind of suspected that was just an urban legend! As a kid, I was always too busy scampering, barefeet sizzling, towards the nearest cool lawn to try it, and, anyway, my mother wasn't likely to sacrifice an egg to just to satisfy my curiosity. But it did get up to 120 degrees on a few seriously hot summer days. So I always wondered.

Colin - after some serious calculating (such a joy to be the clueless American, but, hey, somebody has to set the standard for cluelessness ...), I see that -28C is about -18F. So, yep. That's bearable. Whereas -29C to -34C is pretty awful, -35C to -40C is horrible and anything lower than than is agonizingly hideous and no nice drink indoors can assuage the trauma (although bragging about having endured it helps a bit). Well, unless you're truly crazed and own an outdoor hot tub, in which case you can sit in steamy glory with your hair a wild mass of hoar frost, sipping champagne at -60F, and make the national news as happened here in 1986.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

These are lovely photos (took a look at your flickr site too)--any time you want, please send me something at The Ester Republic!