November Snow

This entry is part 119 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

Sitka broke records this month for measured November snowfall. However the record comes with a bit of an asterisk, since there are significant gaps in the records for snow amounts. Unlike precipitation, the depth of snow is not measured by the main weather station, apparently. In any case, it was a lot of snow for any month around here, but it did make for some nice views.

Read more

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.

Read more

Snow Returns

After catching the free brown bag concert put on by the Jazz Festival the kids and I got caught in a little snow squall. We waited out the strongest of it at the Crescent Harbor shelter as the snow, mostly in the form of graupel, fell. The forecast had called for snow with no accumulation, but by the end of the day the snow on the ground was approaching an inch deep.

The ice at Swan Lake continues to retreat. There were three Ring-necked Ducks, quite a few Glaucous-winged Gulls, at least one Thayer’s Gull, as well as Mallards and scaups. Today’s mix of scaups was different than yesterday’s, with two male Greater Scaups hanging together while another group of 5 Lesser Scaup males dove repeatedly at the edge of the ice. After the Greater Scaups moved around the peninsula to where the Lesser Scaups were, it was interesting to be able to compare them more directly and see some differences.

I noticed a Common Ragwort (Senecio vulgaris) with flowers still present. It was under a pine tree at the town end of the Lincoln Street green belt. Presumably the cover provided by the pine kept the plant from being significantly damaged by the frost. It seems unlikely the flowers will be able to produce seed, but I guess as temperatures rise in the coming months it will be interesting to see.

Read more