…where in Heaven’s Name is winter?!?!? I suppose I should be accurate and ask ‘where is winter in south central Alaska’ although a majority of the state has seen a fairly mild winter to this point. Apparently northern reaches of the state are actually seeing more typical weather of late; my buddy in Livengood, Alaska (roughly 80 miles NW of Fairbanks) recently spoke of air temps in the negative numbers along with many inches of snow. I see tomorrow’s high is just -1 F and NWS forecasting 3” to 6” of snow across Tuesday (12/02) night into Wednesday morning. I’d gladly take such a forecast and be happy even though we should be seeing at least 18” of snow pack by this point. We did get snow Saturday (11/29); it snowed continually albeit lightly for more than 15 hours yet in my measurements this morning I saw a meager 2.1” of new snow with a ‘snow pack’ of just 2.6” of snow. I remain amazed I could see 15 contiguous hours of even light snow and still accumulate barely 2” of snow pack…
Here’s a snipped copy of my morning report to CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow):
This report looks much more like those I generated while living in SW Ohio or even SE Michigan when we were lucky to even see accumulating snow during many winters. I’m beginning to believe I somehow redirect winter weather away from where ever I choose to live! This sounds like nonsense but you must realize for the four winters I lived in SE Michigan (2009 through 2013) there was almost no snow; the final winter (2012-2013) we totaled just 9” of snow all winter and never saw a temp below 0 F. I move out in July of 2013 and the next winter sets an all-time record for snowfall at Detroit’s Metro airport and also sets numerous low temperature records during the season. Meanwhile, Talkeetna has its warmest winter on record as does most of Alaska. And this year is looking much the same.
I delved back into my weather data collected by my Davis Vantage Pro 2 wireless weather station across the period from November 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014. I’ve snipped out the monthly synopsis for each month; with the exception of November it’s easy to see it truly was extremely warm up here:
Unbelievable that Talkeetna’s average temp for January 2014 was 25.8 F and its low was just 0.6 F!!! December and January are the two coldest months up here but you wouldn’t have known that from the above data. And it appears we’re heading for another such ‘winter that wasn’t’ this year.
Part of the reason I moved to Alaska was to experience five plus months of real winter with feet of snow pack and days of temps never reaching 0 F and dropping into the minus twenties or even minus thirties. At this juncture to say I’ve been disappointed would be a bit like calling Denali ‘a big hill’! I realize that technically winter has yet to begin although meteorological winter does start December 1st and runs through March 1st so for all intent and purpose we are now in the winter season.
I certainly hope we see a true shift in our winter back to the more normal temps and snowfall for this area but to this point it doesn’t look good. If this continues I may have to do the unthinkable and move to Fairbanks or points north just to see an Alaskan winter. After the grueling move up here from SE Michigan I swore I would never move again yet if I cannot find ‘winter’ here I may just have to swallow that promise and look north. Alaskans from the further north reaches joking refer to this area as ‘the banana belt’; sadly to this point that moniker is all too accurate!