The local National Weather Service, to whom we pay a lot of attention to here in Interior Alaska for reasons I’ll explain in a minute, has been warning all weekend of an impending freezing rain storm coming in this morning. Sure enough, she came up about 8 am and started raining, even though the surface temp was about 30F. So - the rain promptly froze to anything it touched, including the roadways. Since my work is about 8 miles from the house, I got to play “skate to work” in the FJ Cruiser this morning. The FJ did just fine in 4WD and with studs on, no worries. Land Cruiser came through again! I did however, see a number of vehicles off the road in various states of stuck, including a poor gentleman off a pretty steep drop-off. All I could do was call the local constabulary, since there wasn’t a safe place to pull off (or drive on, for that matter). The whole scene reminded me of adult bumper cars on ice.
The NOAA Weather Service up here in the arctic plays a pretty important role. Our weather is volatile to say the least. I’ve seen sunshine, rain, snow, high winds and back to 55F all in one day - and that’s not unusual. We’re located right at the base of the Alaska Range, so we also get violent winds on a fairly regular basis. It isn’t at all unusual to get 50 - 60 mph winds on any given day, with gusts to 75. Normal stuff here. Oh, did I mention it also gets cold here? -40F in the winter is no big deal, with cold snaps of -50 to -60F not uncommon. The first year we lived here it reached -92F with wind chill at the local air strip. At that temp vehicles and their associated fluids do weird things, like fuel gelling and metal snapping like a twig. Your tires also either freeze to the surface they’re sitting on or become square from sitting in the cold. Taking off with square tires is something to be experienced. We’ve outfitted Troopy with engine heaters including battery, block and fuel lines. It helps a little, but when it gets that cold we just leave Troopy in the shop and drive our petrol vehicles as they don’t suffer as much in the cold. A lot of commercial drivers just leave their diesels running 24/7 from about this time of year until March or so. Sounds strange, but its the truth!
Hopefully we’ll chill down in the next couple of days. Prediction for Friday is a high of 0F. Ahhh, back to normal...
Until next time - Bye for now!