Meteorological Musings July 23, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
We had a record-heat temperature on July 5, 92.5 F. It’s hard to believe that two weeks later, we are basking in the same kind of chilly temperatures that we suffered through all last “summer.” (Last year was one of those especially bad summers. The temperature, day in and day out couldn’t seem to get above 55 degrees. We had rain for a week at a time, more like Juneau and Ketchikan than what we should be getting in Southcentral. So it was a wonderful surprise this spring when June turned into one of those luscious months of perfect temperature/humidity that happen along so rarely that we scurry to dig out our cotton shirts and shorts, root through the shoe box for the flipflops we haven’t been able to wear for two years, and hie ourselves outdoors for any reason whatsoever, even if it’s just to watch the neighbor kids playing with the Super-Soakers. It was wonderful. Even the cloudy days were warm and comfy.
Years ago in the early days of TV in Alaska, there was RATNET, or “Rural Alaska Television Network.” It gave us two channels, part time. One was a selection of top shows from the major networks, strung together and separated by incredibly bad local commercials and local announcements, and the other was the educational station from the University of Alaska, which gave us such gems as Tony Brown’s Journal and Aviation Weather. The weather show turned out to be one of our favorites, and we tried hard not to miss it.
Aviation Weather is still on the educational station here, and it still provides all of us who care to pay attention a very well-rounded education into meterorological Alaska. We teacher’s pets and know-it-alls who paid attention now know “occluded fronts” when we see them on the map. We know what “isobars” are. We know that a big red “L” in the Gulf of Alaska, combined with a big blue “H” over Fairbanks is going to squeeze those isobars together and create some VERY windy conditions. We know that icing on airplane wings can occur at any time of year when conditions are just right, and that winds aloft seldom blow in the same direction or at the same speed as the breezes on the ground.
Unfortunately, having all this esoteric knowledge does very little to solve the weather problems we are enduring at present, except for this: The big red “L” that was stalled over the Kenai Peninsula for the last week looks like it might be deteriorating, and that might let a blue “H” materialize, MAYBE in time for the Governor’s Picnic on the 31st.
So, I guess we’ll just check our creaking joints, wet our fingers and hold them up, and see how fast the milk curdles, so we’ll know whether to bring umbrellas or sunscreen to the picnic. (I’m not much of an optimist when it comes to Alaskan weather. I think I’ll take both, just in case…)