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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
According to the local evening (Anchorage-200 miles away) news, the temperature range in Alaska today was minus 44 in Point Lay to the NW versus plus 43 at Annette Island in the far SE.  As you can see from the temperature chart, there is a lot of frigid air up here.
temperature chart for Alaska at 6:30PM AST: It's getting a bit cold up here!

For comparison, I have included the temperature maps for Canada and stateside for the same time period below.  Even the part of Canada which is actually populated is doing okay tonight temperature-wise.

I even see ongoing pictures of some of you down there working outside in your garden railways. 

Appreciate what you have. It could be a whole lot worse. Tonight I expect it to hit minus 30 here at Copper Center, and colder in the following night. Oh yes, and the adjacent Kluntina River is now fully frozen over.

Maybe I get to keep my world title of "Farthest North Garden Railway" for longer than I would have thought. It is definitely not easy building and maintaining an outdoors model railroad in the sub-arctic region (here).

Go ahead. Blame it all on global warming if you want. After all, it COULD be a LOT colder here right now. The coldest temperature I have ever experienced in this area was minus 75 in 1979 at Tok in late February, early March.

I have no intention of getting into the GW debate, but believe me, a little global warming up here would be just fine with me. You all might see a REAL winter down there yet, but trust me, it won't last EIGHT months (our typical winter) and it most decidedly won't hit minus 55 (the lowest temp I have experienced here in the last ten years). 

You all have a good day down there, wherever you are and enjoy those trains still running outdoors. 

--Ron in (where the h*** is) Copper Center, Alaska
 

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RE: You're "Having it Good Stateside"

Feel free to send some of that weather down to the southern hemisphere. On the news last night they said it got up to 49c (120f) up at Port Headland yesterday. (Yes you read that temperature right)
 

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/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gifHmmm, I'd have expected a sharper "U" on the East Coast...LOT of hot air down in SC this week /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
 

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Good, you can have that cold weather! 
In a week or two it'll flip and Alaska will be warmer than here in the midwest.
You folks still in 24 hr. darkness up there?
 

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We in Arizona  hit  70 degrees yesterday.   We are might have  the same today and  tomorrow 
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
On the other hand, according to Accuweather, we have a low "mosquito index" today.
No kidding.
Instead we have a "severe cold weather alert." 

Don't take this as a complaint. In comparision to previous winters, we really are doing just fine. Looks like we may even escape without getting into the minus forties. If so, it will be the first time since I have been here. Considering the extremely high price of heating oil this winter, that would be a real plus. 

During a warm break in midafternoon yesterday when it was only minus ten, I was out on the Cicely model structure deck adding supports to the canopy over the turntable area. The carpenter had failed to properly reinforce this part of the roof against heavy snowfall. Even though we have not seen all that much snow yet, we are now entering that part of the winter where it could happen. I sure don't need my canopy to collapse onto the deck floor.  In any case, thanks to the slight warm up yesterday, I was able to correct that problem. 
The canopy seen here was not properly supported. It needs to be able to support about two feet of snow load.  Anything beyond that I will still have to pull off the roof--but that much snowfall up here is extremely unlikely. Picture taken in late July 2007. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Posted By slug on 01/11/2008 9:24 PM
Feel free to send some of that weather down to the southern hemisphere. On the news last night they said it got up to 49c (120f) up at Port Headland yesterday. (Yes you read that temperature right)

That's just a bit too hot for this northern boy.  I think I will keep my cold weather, thank you. 
 

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Ron,
I was wondering how you folks stay warm up there in the extreme times. What do you use for heat, propane ,electric, fuel oil. Is it expensive for heating costs in winter. You must have extra insulated homes.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Unfortunately because of the nature of my buildings I am forced to use diesel fuel Miller furnaces since hot air needs to be blow down to the pipes running beneath the buildings.  That last building I added, which contains two shower rooms and lavatories, has its water line running at ceiling level to prevent excessive heat being sent below the floor. I have installed bleed off valves everywhere so I can quickly shut that building down in mid-winter if necessary without losing the plumbing system.

I currently pay 3.35 a gallon for heating oil and am consuming over 500 gallons a month on this property distributed between five buildings. That does not count the separate well house with its 72 gallon diesel fired hot water heater that keeps the entire water system alive. That one is using an average of nearly 180 gallons a month.

The property I purchased was once a trailer park. The newer buildings use 6 inches of insulation. The older ones are stateside trailers. I have added new walls and additional insulation to these.

Addtionally, the power bill has risen considerably since it is tied to the cost of heating oil.  I believe it is currently about 27 cents per KWH.

Altogether, sometimes it seems that I really work for the fuel delivery company and the power company. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
RE: You're "Having it Good Stateside"

The extreme cold weather also presents a challenge with my outdoor model structures. I am continually seeking new ways to build these so that they can resist the roughly 150 degree range (95 above to 55 below) that can occur here. So far I have been relatively successful, but I am still having to re-engineer some of these structures. All of them are under cover, but none but those in the bar are protected from the temperature variations.
 

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I see, I never though about deisel fuel. Yrs ago we used fuel oil back in Ohio. My bedroom was in the basement next to that tank, righ by the furnace with the asbestos wrapped ducts. And I still turned out fairly normal.  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif    You would think fuel oil would be cheap up there just like gas should be cheaper here in Tx. Not so though !
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Posted By bryanj on 01/12/2008 1:25 PM
I see, I never though about deisel fuel. Yrs ago we used fuel oil back in Ohio. My bedroom was in the basement next to that tank, righ by the furnace with the asbestos wrapped ducts. And I still turned out fairly normal.  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif    You would think fuel oil would be cheap up there just like gas should be cheaper here in Tx. Not so though !

You would think. The oil companies call it "economies of scale." With our relatively low population up here, it is just not economical enough to keep the prices down evidently. Most all refined products are shipped up to us from elsewhere even though our main export product is crude oil.

Asbestos wrapped ducts were once very common up here. The Kennecott millsite had asbestos everywhere. They were in all the schools, the low income housing apartments, even the orphanage where my dad grew up.  If left alone they present no health hazard problem at all.   Once they are disturbed, however, well, that's when the real problems begin.
 

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RE: You're "Having it Good Stateside"

Its about ten above right now in my corner of Alaska, with temps dipping to around -10 or so in the night/early morning. Guess that puts me in a better position than Blackburn, but then I live right on the coast (though, like Blackburn, there be a remnant of the last ice age not all that far off).

I have noticed, though, that global warming or not, nearly all of Alaska's glaciers seem to be in full retreat. Portage Glacier, once a popular tourist attraction on the Seward Highway, is well, barely there at all anymore. And if memory serves, the glacier that part of the Copper River Railway was built on top of (literally) has retreated enough to the point where if somebody were fool enough to rebuild that line, it would be possible to route the tracks around the glacier all together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Posted By ThinkerT on 01/12/2008 2:16 PM
Its about ten above right now in my corner of Alaska, with temps dipping to around -10 or so in the night/early morning. Guess that puts me in a better position than Blackburn, but then I live right on the coast (though, like Blackburn, there be a remnant of the last ice age not all that far off).

I have noticed, though, that global warming or not, nearly all of Alaska's glaciers seem to be in full retreat. Portage Glacier, once a popular tourist attraction on the Seward Highway, is well, barely there at all anymore. And if memory serves, the glacier that part of the Copper River Railway was built on top of (literally) has retreated enough to the point where if somebody were fool enough to rebuild that line, it would be possible to route the tracks around the glacier all together.

It is undeniable that Alaska's glaciers are in retreat and have been that we know of as far back as we have photos of those glaciers--in some cases dating into the 1880s, and probably earlier. The retreat has been dramatic. Valdez Glacier has fallen back FOUR miles! The top of the Kennicott glacier has lost over 300 feet right in front of the old ghost town. And the process appears to be speeding up as evidenced by the Portage Glacier recent retreat. I attribute this melting process to the northern hemisphere being at the tail end of the last ice age or mini-ice age, which was relatively recent. Hopefully, we will not be entering another similar natural occurence within my lifetime. I am a PROPONENT of global warming as it applies to Alaska. I simply don't feel the need to experience minus 75 or even minus 55 ever again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It is minus 34 as I write this.The temp has dropped four degrees in the last hour.  I  just shot these two views from my window near this computer desk, looking east toward Mt. Drum, a part of the Wrangell Range. Drum is just over 12,000 feet. Both pictures are clickable to a larger size.
As you can see, it is capable of being quite spectacular here in the dead of winter--and we are there.
 

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RE: You're "Having it Good Stateside"

Somehow, Chicago weather doesn't sound so bad:D
 

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Sunshine, 60F, no wind here in Las Vegas.  Absolutely beautiful.  After living in Hawaii, Texas, Alabama and now Nevada, my Mom still asks me when I am moving back home, to Minneapolis.  No way

Wearing shades and sun-block.  Bob
 

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Minus 35? No thanks.  I went to the gym at 5:30 this morning.  Temps were just about 34, so all I needed was shorts and a t-shirt to make it from the parking lot to the entrance!  6 miles of hard running (43 minutes) later, the near freezing temps were refreshing (but I was glad to get to the car).  This winter has been pretty mild so far.  We continue to pay our gas bill year round, so from May to October, we build up a nice credit with the gas company.  Now, we are starting in to the time when we use the most gas.  With the new baby in the house, I think we are running a little bit warmer than in the past, too.

I am headed to Jackson Hole, WY on Friday, and looking at those temps, I am in for a shock.  it will be in the single digits to about 20 (Fahrenheit) while I am there.  Lots of snow there, too.  99" base as of today.  Maybe I should go skiing.  I was planning on packing snowshoes and forgetting about dropping $120 for 7 hours of skiing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Posted By markoles on 01/14/2008 12:52 PM
Minus 35? No thanks.  .  .

I am headed to Jackson Hole, WY on Friday, and looking at those temps, I am in for a shock.  it will be in the single digits to about 20 (Fahrenheit) while I am there.  Lots of snow there, too. 
I can't say I blame you.  When I am stateside visiting any temp around freezing feels darn cold to me. Must be the humidity.  Plus twenty would be miserable. I hear that not too many people live in Wyoming  for good reason--very harsh winters.

Summers here in southcentral AK are generally good to very good, but the good weather generally doesn't start until late May. Usually by mid-August, summer has just about extinguished itself, but the fall season, such as it is, isn't bad at all. That comes to an abrupt end by about the third week in September.

From the standpoint of operating outdoor model trains, interior Alaska is hardly an ideal location, but the challenge is one that I happen to relish. 
 
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