Return to the 40s

Today was rather spring-like in many respects. Although snow may have falling as forecast in other parts of the area, very little snow fell in town. There was just enough wet snow to stick to the previously wind-polished ice and subsequently refreeze, leaving things much less slippery than before (a fact that was somewhat disappointing to me, as I had been thinking I would spend a little time skating/sliding down the ice hill with Connor and Rowan). As temperatures rose to over 40 by later this morning, the ice started to soften and melt.

Skies were partly to mostly cloudy through much of the day (with a fair amount of sun), and there was still some wind today, but it seemed to be out of a direction that made it much less noticeable in the areas I was walking around. By later this evening it seemed as though skies were mostly clear, and the ice had hardened up again, though air temperatures were still in the mid to upper 30s.

Read moreReturn to the 40s

Tracking Wind

Temperatures remained quite cold, but winds diminished significantly by later this afternoon. It was interesting to see all the polished ice intermixed with thin patches of wind sculpted snow. As windy as it got here over the last couple of days, it was much stronger elsewhere.

From today’s weather synopsis:

THE WEATHER PATTERN THAT CAUSED FREQUENT WIND GUSTS OVER 50 MPH
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM JUNEAU TO SKAGWAY AND THE CENTRAL OUTER
COAST IS GRADUALLY WEAKENING. THE HIGHEST MEASURED WIND GUST WAS
150 MPH /130 KNOTS/ AT SHEEP MOUNTAIN SOUTH OF JUNEAU AT 3540
FEET ELEVATION. HIGHEST WIND GUST AT SEA LEVEL WAS 103 MPH /90
KNOTS/ AT CAPE SPENCER IN CROSS SOUND.

Forecast is for relative calm tomorrow and winds picking back up later in the week s a low approaches the coast of British Columbia. Fortunately, temperatures are also forecast to rise.

Pictures from today were taken as I walked across Swan Lake near sunset – hence the shift towards blue and lack of brightness (though I could have neutralized these things in processing, I found the contrast on the snow made it easier to see the texture and shapes if I left it as it was).

I didn’t notice too much unusual in the way of birds today, but one thing did stand out – there were three Great Blue Herons flying south over Swan Lake as I started across it. Perhaps they had all been roosting in trees around the lake and were headed to the beach for low tide. There certainly wasn’t any open water for them to fish around the lake.

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Big Wind

I spent much of the day sleeping today, still trying to fight off a cold. My brother and I did walk down to the library this afternoon to watch a presentation on pack rafting in Alaska. Winds were pretty stiff coming and going. It was blowing pretty much out of the east, so at our backs on the walk there, but gusting right in our faces on the way back. Combined with temperatures in the teens, it was a chilling walk.

I’ve been paying more attention to snow blowing off the peaks during this recent spell of cold/clear weather, so it was interesting today to see how few peaks could actually be seen. Skies were clear overall, but my guess is that white-out conditions prevailed on most of the higher snow laden peaks. It would be interesting to see the snow sculptures that must have been created with drifts being deposited and carved by the wind.

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Totem Park Sunset

I spent most of today trying to sleep off a cold, but finally decided I should get out for at least a little while late this afternoon. So I used a trip to the post office as an excuse and walked there via Totem Park.

It was cloudy for much of the day, but as the sun dropped toward the horizon, it broke through. There was a pretty good east wind blowing – but I mostly noticed it out toward the southeast end of the flats – other parts of the walk were more protected.

The usual birds were out and about along the shore – including a Common Murre or two in Crescent Bay. The Bald Eagles were apparently feeling predatory or something – they don’t always spook the Mallards off the beach, but a couple of times today I noticed them responding to the flight of Bald Eagles. Also of note were 10 Canada Geese feeding along the flats in front of the Visitor Center.

On the way back from the post office I was able to catch a pretty nice sunset.

Read moreTotem Park Sunset