Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Epic Alaska Weather is the Norm

'Epic' storm rips off roofs in Alaska

Yes, "Epic," as if that means something.

When I was an archaeologist in Alaska, I spent three days stuck in Nome, on my way back to Fairbanks from St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Strait. I had just made the last flight off the island before the storm moved in, barely found the airport at Nome before it socked in as well.

For the next three days, the storm raged and battered at the breakwater just outside my century-old hotel room window. With each crash of the surf, the building rattled and rocked on its foundation. Phones were out, the electricity flickered ominously but never went out for more than a few seconds at a time. The street filled with snow and snow machines were the only vehicles moving. The bar and restaurant downstairs did a thriving business for those of us huddled in the hotel and a few who braved the wind and cold to join us.

It was a typical winter storm in northwest Alaska, just like the one today.

"Epic?' No more so than Alaska has always been to folks who don't live there.