Sunday, December 20, 2009

Got Snow?

Schools in Valdez, Alaska have never been closed because of snow.  Schools there have been closed only three times due to weather - high wind.   Valdez lies in a narrow valley surrounded by steep, high mountains, near the head of Prince William Sound.  Sometimes the way the wind funnels in there must be felt to be believed.  I’ll always remember flying out of Valdez one April day in a small twin engine turbo-prop airplane - the most bumpy and terrifying airplane landing or departure I have ever endured anywhere, anytime - and I’ve suffered quite a few of those flying around in Alaska.

This week, between Monday and Wednesday morning 68 inches fell in Valdez.  That’s almost 6 feet.  By Friday, 6-1/2 feet fell for the week, but still 6” short of the 5-day record set in 1996.

When told about a city paralyzed by 20” of snow, Valdez resident Tom McAlister said, "My God, our people don't even get out of bed for that . . . “

Valdez averages 330 inches of snow per year - that’s 27.5 feet for the mathematically inclined. The record so far is 581 inches in the winter of 1989-90 - but records have only been kept since the early 1970’s.

Valdez is very popular with ‘extreme skiers’ because of its deep snow and steep mountains.   There is no ski area there, so skiers must hike up the slopes, or resort to ‘heli-skiing’ which is taking a helicopter ride to the top of the mountain and then skiing down the breath-taking slopes.

So, try to keeping things in perspective when you feel put upon by a few inches of snow . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may post anything you wish in comments. I guarantee all will be read. But, due to personal attacks and deliberate flaming, I will not agree to publish all comments.