Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Strange weather patterns

Some of it is I'm in a different part of Alaska then I've grown up in, so what is odd to me might be normal for around here, but this is the first time I've ever seen lightning in the winter, no thunder just lightning and hail. I've seen lightning more frequently over the recent years, but I guess it's more of a regular occurrence the further north you go.

First time I saw lightning was winter '83, the same winter that I wrote the assignment for my correspondence course that eventually became published in '85. Yes, I'm one of Alaska's youngest published authors, not a fact I make plainly known, almost forgot to mention the book when I interviewed with a Harvard alumni.

Saw a couple flashes about 2 1/2 years ago, but that was late summer. About 1 3/4 years ago now, my how time flies, lightning became more common in the Juneau area. Makes sleep difficult when you live at the base of a mountain called Thunder Mountain, more then once awoke wondering if the windows in the room were going to shatter with the rumbling. The State Office building my oldest sis use to work at was struck by a direct hit, fried the entire phone system in the building. Was rather amusing following that story, at first they were trying to repair the phones until they realized that parts for phones that old were no longer made.

Another thing I've never had to think about down in Southeast that they do here in Southcentral Alaska is volcanoes. St. Augustine has been spewing ash and steam for the past week or so, at times shutting down local airports and/or diverting air traffic away from the region. I think there was a slight earthquake, probably tied to an eruption two days ago, but haven't seen anything in the local papers, I wouldn't gauge it above a 3.4 on the Richter scale.

Did I mention it's a whole lot colder here in South Central compared to South East Alaska? I'm use to having night time lows a whole lot warmer then the day time highs for this area, not factoring in the high winds that also seem to be more prevalent then back home. This is a mild form of the Chinook Winds, with winds gusts as high as 50 mph, darn the bad luck my kite is still in storage ;)

Guess I'm saying what I think is normal is only relative to the region I've grown up in.


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