Tuesday, January 31, 2012

26 below

On the last morning of January, it's 26 below. That's a fitting temp, because that number will be close to Fairbanks' average temperature for the month.

This redpoll doesn't seem to care, but many of his flock have been removed from the gene pool this month.

Ice fog. Forms at about minus 30, when the air can't make water vapor invisible anymore. Small crystals from tailpipes, the Chena River and your dog's mouth hang in the air. That tiny dish to the right is the antenna of the Geophysical Institute, the tallest building on the UAF campus.

Life within the cloud is pretty grim, but there is a sort of beauty to it, because it is rare. No other city in North America is cold enough for ice fog. Even we haven't had bouts like this very often. My memory ain't good, but I don't remember anything like this weekend, when Fairbanks fell to minus 50, since the big cold snap of 1989.

The Aurora powerplant downtown burns coal to keep us all alive. The populace is grumpy from a month of vanishing firewood, lifeless cars and cancelled ski trips. It has been a month to remember for those who endured it, and even for those who escaped for a few weeks. Allright Big Cold, let us up. We've had enough.


Karen said...

What beautiful photos! I hope it warms up soon!

spruceboy said...