After a very slow and mild start to the winter season in south central Alaska the last couple of weeks have done wonders in catching up with more ‘normal’ conditions. We went from no snow pack on Thanksgiving Day – the first time in six such holidays I saw no snow on the ground – to a 21.5 inch (54.6 cm) snow pack as of this morning with more light snow coming down. As is typical for the this area – for those wondering I live around 7 miles (11.3 km) south of the village of Talkeetna and maybe 0.5 miles (0.8 km) east of the Spur Road – our recent snow events have seen calm conditions which allows the new snow to really accumulate on any almost horizontal surface. This makes the trees and brush look gorgeous sporting a thick layer of pristine, white snow.
Our weather conditions are much closer to what we should be seeing in early to middle December although there remains a rock hard 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) layer of ice atop the ground from earlier bouts of freezing rain and rain. I’m pleased no end as I feared with the existing El Nino and that warm pool of water remaining in the north Pacific we might well see yet another ‘winter that wasn’t’. Even so we have yet to see a real Alaskan snow event; one in which over 12 inches (30.5 cm) is dumped within a 24 hour period. To this point the most snow I’ve measured in a 24 hour period was 8.8 inches (22.4 cm) on December 3rd. I miss the truly heavy snowfalls I did experience the first few winters up here; they are truly a beautiful event at least as long as one doesn’t have any commitments requiring driving until the roads are plowed.
However, I’m not complaining as I have also seen a couple of winters when we struggled to even reach a 21 inch (53.3 cm) snow pack. As the snow continues to fall as I write this I suspect we’re probably closer to seeing a 22 inch (55.8 cm) snow pack and our forecast is calling for on again/off again snow across the next week along with some more seasonal (i.e. ‘colder’) air temps. The dogs are loving the weather as well; Delilah, my mostly ‘Russian Bear Dog’ – more properly known as a ‘Caucasian Shepherd Dog’ – truly loves the snow and I often see her both rolling in it and hunkering down next to snow drifts. Qanuk, my German Shepherd Dog, has always loved snow and he really enjoyed running through the couple inches of new snow during this morning’s walk. Even little Skye, the mix I’m currently fostering, was having great fun running through the snow and attacking Delilah and Qanuk from hiding places created by snow piles. We’re all snow and cold lovers so this season is made for us!
I’ve included some images showing the difference in the outside conditions between Thanksgiving Day and this morning as well as some shots of the ‘winter wonderland’ that’s the Talkeetna area when it snows. Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and, as I know Qanuk, Delilah and Skye would agree, ‘let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..!!’