It is 9 am in Homer on January 21st. An orange glow grows on the southern horizon as the sun lazily creeps its way towards its rise in about an hour. It is below zero for yet another morning. The ice on the bay has extended a little further out. I throw more logs in the wood stove and pour some coffee. My back still hurts from digging out from the last storm. Thanks to a sea surface temperature phenomenon called La Nina, it continues to be quite a winter in Alaska.
Until the last few days, the “lower 48” has had it pretty easy so far. The Jet Stream has stayed at high latitudes, and the cold air has been concentrated in Alaska and Canada. This winter has frozen itself firmly in the memories of Alaska residents. Tales of a catastrophic winter hurricane in November, heating fuel shortages in Nome, fifty below zero temperatures, roof-collapsing snow-loads in Cordova and Valdez, and ferocious blizzards have all made national news.
Many of my friends and family members have contacted me to see how we are fairing in Homer. We have had our moments for sure. Here is a video that I put together of a blizzard last week. Homer is pretty mild and dry compared to other locations in the state, but we do get nailed by some pretty wicked storms from time to time. This was one of the worst I have seen. Some snow drifts reached 12 feet or more on higher elevation roads, some residents were housebound for 3 days, winds gusting to 65 mph created dangerous blizzard conditions, and the town was officially closed for a full day. Folks are still moving snow around and recovering.