Thursday, November 22, 2007

Chinook Blows Away Turkey

The turkey on top of the Cuppa Joe coffee drive-through is missing, blown away by a Fall Chinook wind that roared in yesterday. Tom and his blow-up feathers are likely on their way to Seward by now.
We woke up early in the morning to the sound of water drip, dripping outside of the house. Odd, since just two days before we had been wondering if it was time to plug in the cars, since winter seemed to be here for good. Fooled again, as weather often does to one in Alaska. The wind known as Chinook can arrive at any time, and does, shooting garbage cans across the street, bending trees in half, and scattering holiday decorations hither and yon.
The water dripping sound was coming from the gutters, full to overflowing with melting snow. Yes, melting snow. The foot of white stuff that had been gracing our lawn, covering a multitude of landscape debauchery was now replaced by soggy leaves and dirty-looking puddles in the back yard. Nothing like a little Seattle weather to darken a holiday. With no snow to brighten things up, outdoors looked darker than it usually does at 9am on a November morning.
Wolf was distraught when he got up around lunchtime and found his igloo-in-process was now half its original size, and the comic books he had placed inside were now splatted on the front of the deck rails. Young Bear looked outside and said "where did the snow all go to, bring it back!"
The neighbor next door, an almost-Sourdough (someone who has lived through many winters, or, at least says he/she has) told us that sometimes the wind screams through our neighborhood so powerfully that doors rip off the hinges, and one time the roof on the house across the street peeled off like an orange. But not to worry, "it always simmers down in time". How have we missed this excitement thus far? With wind like that in South Carolina, we'd be boarding up the windows and heading for the Upstate Motel 6.
Temperatures reached nearly 50, the Alyeska ski area (down near Girdwood, AK, 40 minutes or so south) had to close because of hazardous avalanche conditions, and creeks are up to their banks. Check out the NOAA weather web site, to see what is happening up here, and the projected weather conditions for the entire state. The site is chock full of maps and other such interesting things. Weather is a big part of Alaska; no one goes anywhere without checking first to see what conditions will be. Our weather channel on the radio is our before bed listening; "ohh, honey, let's cozy up to the computerized voice and have a glass of wine while we listen to Zone 172".....
A happy Thanksgiving to all; remember those who have little....

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