Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's The Wind Chill That Gets You


MIDDLE TANANA VALLEY-
INCLUDING...FAIRBANKS...FORT WAINWRIGHT...EIELSON AFB...ESTER... NORTH POLE...MOOSE CREEK...TWO RIVERS...FOX...CHATANIKA... CHENA HOT SPRINGS...SOURDOUGH CAMP 254 PM AST TUE NOV 14 2006
...WIND CHILL ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 12 PM AST WEDNESDAY ON THE HILLS...

THE WIND CHILL ADVISORY IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 12 PM AST WEDNESDAY. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH ON THE HILLS WILL PRODUCE WIND CHILLS TO 51 BELOW.

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY MEANS THAT LOW WIND CHILLS TO 50 BELOW ARE POSSIBLE. IF GOING OUTDOORS...BE PREPARED. MAKE SURE TO COVER ALL EXPOSED SKIN AS FROSTBITE CAN OCCUR IN 10 MINUTES OR LESS.

I think I'll stick around close to home tomorrow. I was going to go to Fairbanks in the morning with two friends from church, but the thought of breaking down in these conditions doesn't sound too appealing -- or safe.

I realized today that I'm getting used to what "normal" winter weather is here in Central Alaska. It was "only 10 below", so I went out to clear the morning snow off the driveway. Rick usually does it, but he was running late this morning and didn't have time. I bundled up and put on my super-duper anti-cold gloves, and in about five minutes I couldn't feel my fingers. Well, that's not exactly right. I could feel them; it felt like my phalanges were on fire inside, but my skin was completely numb.

I think I muttered something about being a wimp and went inside to warm up. Once warm I went back out and shoveled for another few minutes. I looked around hoping that none of the neighbors were watching me . I expected some helpful soul to emerge from their house and offer me free shoveling advice. Whereas our neighbor's driveway (which is connected to ours) was neatly shoveled in perfect little rows, ours looked like my four-year-old nephew had been let loose with a Little Tykes plastic shovel. Evidently my disorganization extends to executing a snow removal plan for a 10 X 15 slab of concrete. Good grief. I quit after I had cleared two-thirds and Rick finished it when he got home. I think I got a C for effort.

Life is never boring when it gets this cold, especially when it comes to the vehicles. Yesterday Rick got in the car to go to lunch and he couldn't get the driver door closed because it was frozen. He had to hold it closed and shift gears alternately with his right hand while steering with his left. While talking to Rick's boss, he told me the previous day he made the mistake of opening his hatchback and it froze open. He had to drive home with it that way and was able to close it after it thawed in the garage.

The only silly thing I've done so far is continuing to open the screen door - which has a metal handle - with my bare hands to let the dogs in and out. I now have a little burned patch of skin on my index finger that hurts a bit. Pushing on the glass isn't much better because it's almost always heavily frosted with ice. I just need to keep a glove on hand (no pun intended) to put on when the dogs need to come and go.

I thought the swings at the playground looked real neat covered with several inches of snow. I took the last pic of the cars plugged in at the highschool when I went to pick up Bren this afternoon. Engine heaters are installed on vehicles to keep them warm and to keep the oil from freezing. On base we are permitted to plug in when it's 10 below.

Click pics to enlarge

15 comments:

deb said...

Hi Donna - one word... unbelievable! Thanks for sharing the car picture; I had heard of this before and now I know it's true!

BTW, I received the book package!! Thank you! You should receive a note from me whenever it makes it there thru the snow! :)

Melene said...

wow, there are so many things people in Alaska have to deal with that we don't even consider. Today over here in West Texas we have major wind to deal with and it's chilly, but not that bad. 55 degrees with wind up to 35 mph. They even cancelled my husband's flying today because of it. I pray that the cold and snow doesn't get you down! It sounds like you have a good attitude.

Molly said...

hey donna, any chance you could change your orders to Elmendorf Air Force Base? It's a little warmer down here. ;-)

Donna said...

Deb, So glad you received the book in a timely manner. I look forward to your note :)

Melene, I sure remember that Texas wind! I showed up in San Antonio for Basic Training in December and remember being so cold with that winter wind. I guess it's the same where you are. One thing I really like about this area we're in is that it's not windy at all.

Molly, I've heard you all are a tad warmer down there by the water, but I don't think I'd trade. I really like the smallness of the Fairbanks/North Pole area. Check back with me in January on this though! lol

laura g. said...

Hi, I'm enjoying your blog. I just started my own at laurainak.blogspot.com, maybe some of your readers would check mine out, as well! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, I have a neighbor who usually has my small driveway shoveled before I can get to it. Shoveling snow ranks right up there with washing dishes on my "hate-to-do list".
Now you doing it would have made a cute video, I'll bet...lol!

Zack

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Wow, this is really something. I have a totally new appreciation for what life must be like where you are. I really liked the pictures, and most of all I appreciated the fact that you braved the elements to take them!

The weather meter on your sidebar is great. I thought it was broken when it said -18.

Donna said...

Laura, thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed looking at your photos!

Zack, man, I didn't think of that! I should keep a lookout on YouTube for embarassing footage ;)

Shelley, I'm honored you came by; thanks so much for the comment, and for hosting such a wonderful Swap! It should be a lot of fun.

Expat Traveler said...

yes that is cold! I've only been to North Dakota in March which was looking the same and cold from time to time... Definitely hard to get used to!

came from shelly's blog.

Sandy said...

Sydney has a bunch of shovels and rakes, I'll send you his extra's :0

Dennis said...

Hi Donna,
Stumbled upon your site researching snow tires and block heaters. I am also a military guy getting ready to PCS to Elmendorf. Yesterday, I just got done installing a block heater in my Explorer and was wondering if I had to carry along my own extension cord. Well, your picture answered my question. Everyone tells me it doesn't as cold at Anchorage than it does in Fairbanks. It's 2 degrees right now here in Utah and I'm cooooold! I'm having my wife read your blog to help prepare her as well. Good job on your site.

Donna said...

Hi Dennis. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm thrilled if you found even a little bit of helpful information here to make your move go smoother or put your minds at ease. We were so anxious prior to getting here, not knowing on a personal level what we would face here in the sub-arctic.

Anchorage is much warmer in the winter than we are here at Eielson. I know it sounds hard to believe, but once the temps dip below zero, when it warms up to even 5 degrees, that will seem "warm" to you. Our family has adjusted quite well to the temps.

You saved yourself some money putting in the block heater yourself. The AAFES service stations offer winterizing specials where they do everything to your car that it needs for about $220. The cords you need to plug in your vehicle must be insulated (graded) for arctic air. You can buy a lighted plug to attach to the end of the cord so when you plug in you can be sure the outlet is good by the light coming on. These are just a couple bucks.

If you or your wife any any questions for me at all, please feel free to email me. My email address is in my profile. Look for my profile link under my picture.

Blessings to you on your journey North!

joanne said...

We have cold winters but never the down to the temperatures in Alaska, I know whats it like to have to clear the drive when you cant feel your fingers, last year about an hour before I went out I put three patio heaters on the drive to help clear it and it almost worked but not quite, great pics.

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