Here We Go Again

In my last post I described the windstorm we had here in SouthCentral Alaska last week.  Well guess what?  We are predicted to have another one this weekend.  Winds are predicted to be 40 miles an hour with gusts to 65 mph on the Lower Hillside and 75 with gusts to 100 mph on the Upper Hillside and Turnagain Arm.  Fun.

We were quite fortunate last week as we suffered very little damage and did not lose our power for an extended period of time.  Our friends and neighbors were not so lucky.  We’ll take all the prayers you can send this way that the storm damage is minimal, as many people are still cleaning up from last week.

And now guess what I’m doing this evening?  That’s right.  Checking the flashlights and lanterns.  Putting anything that can become a missile in the garage.  Charging the phones.  Doing laundry so we all have clean clothes and checking the pantry.

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An Alaskan Hurricane

I grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Hurricanes and tropical storms are just a part of summer.  Many childhood summer memories revolve around tracking storms to see where they might hit.  My godfather and his wife had a magnetic map with longitude/latitude lines where you placed red magnets along the path of the storm.  Sounds very low tech doesn’t it?  As a kid I thought it was pretty cool.  Please remember this was the 1980s and before the internet, but I digress….Bringing lawn furniture into the garage, checking the batteries in your flashlights and lanterns, taping or boarding up your windows and making sure you had enough water and non-perishable food was part of the summer ritual.

I didn’t ever consider that those skills might come in handy up here in the Last Frontier.  They did.  Last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning we had an Alaskan windstorm.  Overnight winds were tropical storm and hurricane strength.  My understanding is these storms can be common in the fall here, but this storm came early in the season and was particularly bad.  Downtown had winds in the 40 mph range, though looking at some of the pictures in the paper of storm damage I think it could have been higher.  As you moved up what’s called the Hillside (closer to and up into the Chugach mountains) the winds were stronger.  We live mid-Hillside and we had winds in the 60-70 mph range.  Even higher up winds were over 100 mph.  So in other words, we had a hurricane minus the flooding and storm surge.

I really didn’t sleep well that night; the wind was so loud and I was concerned with what I was going to find the next morning.  We were lucky.  We kept our power, though we did have many power surges.  We had no major damage and only one small tree at the back of the property was down.  Our neighbors weren’t so lucky.  One of them had three large trees down.  Others had at least one tree down.  School was cancelled all over town on Wednesday due to power outages and trees down over the roads.  Many homes didn’t get power back until this weekend.

Lessons learned:  put away all lawn furniture, make sure you have enough water and non-perishable food, check the batteries in your lanterns and flashlights, consider purchasing a generator. I think some of my hurricane preparedness training will come in handy.

Tree down in the neighborhood

Say What?!

We’ve been experiencing some, in my opinion, depressing weather here in Anchorage.  It’s been cloudy and rainy with highs only in the 50s.  This morning the front page of the newspaper reported it’s the coldest July on record so far.  Now I understand most of the country is experiencing record heat, drought and storms.  I imagine many people would love a little bit of our weather.  Believe me, if we could some how trade a bit of our weather for the Lower 48 and make life a little more bearable for us all, I would!

So this morning when the sun made a semi-appearance, the kids and I headed to a nearby park for an hour or so.  We then came home to have lunch.  We decided to sit out on our deck enjoying the sunshine that had fully arrived.  After finishing their lunch 2 out of 3 kids told me they were hot and going inside.  Ok, fine by me, I’m going to sit out here and absorb every possible sun ray.  When I finished my lunch, I went inside, looked at the weather on my phone and saw that it was 61 degrees F!  Yes, my friends, apparently that is now too hot for some of my children.  Funny, none of them had any problem going out and riding their bikes later.  I’m sure that’s because it was cloudy again by then.

Random Observations

1. Never trust the weather forecast here. Seriously, don’t even bother to look. Just assume it will be cloudy and chilly most of the day. Dress in layers. Be prepared for rain. Pray you get lucky and the sun decides to show itself. When the sun does come out, drop everything and get outside.

2. Roundabouts are awesome. So much better than a traffic light. They’re much more efficient. South Anchorage has several roundabouts and I love them.

3. Nothing smells better than Alaska after a rain. It has to be one of the best smells on earth. Something about the rain makes the cedar smell stand out and it is heavenly. It’s clean and fresh smelling. Just amazing really. I want my whole house to smell that way.

4. Driveway update – all snow disappeared from our driveway Memorial Day Weekend. All snow disappeared from our yard the first weekend of June! No lie! Crazy!