Snow Day

Posted by Arlo on Mar 7, 2007 under Life of Arlo

Snow piled high on the Raven sculpture at UASGlobal warming, huh? A couple summers ago, I thought that might be the case, but Juneau has been cold this winter. And piled high with snow.

For the second time this season, my Jeep is buried beyond the point of easy extraction. When the weather gets like this, it’s just easier to dig out and scrape one car; Oksana drops me off at work in the morning now.

Last month, our local ski resort, Eaglecrest, recorded the world’s highest snow-pack at 180 inches. And that was well before last week’s blizzard. Up until then, we’d had our fair share of “Winter Storm Warnings.” Those aren’t too bad. Snow comes down, the roads get slick, maybe the schools shut down for the day. Unfortunately, besides having evening classes cancelled, the university plugged right along. I expect more from my blizzards!

10 to 17 inches of snow was called for, but it was the wind that had people worried. It was a dry snow and 65mpg gusts were kicking it all back up in the air, reducing visibility. When the actual blizzard warning hit on Thursday — “A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS A SERIOUS THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY IS ALREADY OCCURRING OR IMMINENT. TRAVEL IS DISCOURAGED UNLESS IT IS AN ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY.” — I expected that, on Friday, the university would finally have a snow day. Nope.

Let me tell you, it’s quite disappointing to go to work when you were fully expecting to climb back into bed after a quick radio check. It’s inversely proportional to joy you feel the following Monday when you discover that even more snow piled up the night before and you’re going to get a three-day weekend after all!

Yeah, Juneau was essentially shut down on Monday. All federal employees and school workers (including the university, yay!) exchanged slippery roads with sightline-blocking snow banks for warm comforters and bad daytime television shows. If not for the World of Warcraft, I probably wouldn’t even have realized it until I got to work. The possibility of a snow day hadn’t occurred to me; the TV and radio aren’t usually on in the mornings at Casa Midgett. But when I logged on to WoW (“checkin ‘ my auctions,” you know), two friends immediately sent me the same message: “SNOW DAY!” It was a wonderful surprise… even if I did have to shovel and scrape Oksana’s car for her. She still had to go to work.

Now, a couple days later, the temperature is finally climbing above freezing for the first time in weeks. The snow on the ground has turned from fine and powdery to clumpy and wet. Most of downtown is situated at the bottom of steep mountain slopes and is under threat of high avalanche warnings. It’s not over yet… We may get more snow before the rain really comes, but tons of miserable slush is definitely in our future. I’m not looking forward to the spring thaws — can’t the snow just sublimate? — I’m ready to feel the sun’s warmth again.