Wednesday, November 28, 2012

High pressure system steals winter from snow lovers

Photo by Zaz Hollander
The sort-of snowy road to Mountain Streams B & B 

Got snow? Nope. In fact, we've got so little snow that snowplow drivers are sitting idle, snowmachines are sitting in the garage and homeowners are sweating the specter of frozen pipes brought on by low snow insulation. Even a big gala opening for the Mat-Su Borough's new Nordic Center at Government Peak is on temporary hold - no snow, no nordic skiing. 

What gives, Mother Nature? 

Two simple words, meteorologist Dan Peterson responds when asked: High pressure. 

"It always blocks out the lows. All the way through Tuesday," Peterson says. He's polite but sounds like he's tolerating these questions until he can get back to his real job as a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage. 

How many times can you tell somebody why it's not snowing? It's weather. It happens. 

But I get excited. He said through Tuesday! Does that mean we're getting snow on Tuesday?? 

Calm down, kid. Peterson says that's just the extent the National Weather Service forecasts into the future. 

OK, so this year feels pretty unusual. When was the last year we had so little snow this far into what Alaskans consider winter? 

Peterson thinks on that for a minute. He goes to the data. 1995. There was less than an inch of snow on the ground at this time of year. That's at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, where the Weather Service measures such things. This year, there's 2 inches at the airport.

"It's not even close," he says.

It's also not enough for plow trucks to get to work, snowmachiners to get to play or pipes to get cozied up in a layer of white. 

And what kind of winter postpones the inaugural"Skiapaloosa"? That's the Government Peak Nordic Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, featuring a Skate Clinic, races, Moonlight Ski Tour and Junior Nordic Social. Watch the Mat-Su Ski Club Web site for more information. 

Meanwhile, you can check Government Peak snow levels - or lack thereof - via the new weather station at Mountain Streams B & B, the lodge owned by Hatcher Pass nordic ski patriarch Ed Strabel and his wife, Glynn, at the base of Government Peak and just down the road from the new center. 

-- Zaz Hollander

1 comment:

MissingAK said...

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