Saturday, December 27, 2008

Daylight and Dark

As most people know, Alaska can be dark during the winter. Fortunately for us, we are only at 57.5 degrees north.  Now if we lived in Barrow, AK, at 71 degrees north, there would be 6 weeks of complete darkness.  This city of 3900 inhabitants is the northernmost city in Alaska. Its residents never see the sun above the horizon from November 18 until January 22.

Since we are much farther south, our hours of daylight are only limited to 6 1/2 hours on the shortest day, December 21st.  On the that day, we saw sunrise at 9:47 am and sunset was reported at  4:21 pm. With the sun just below the horizon for a period of time, the actual visibility is increased somewhat. So, we could actually see outside by 9:25 am but it was totally dark by 4:45 pm.

We are on the positive side regarding weather now. Even though the wind is blowing, like yesterday with gusts to 70 mph, and the snow flurries are getting more frequent, the days are increasing in length.  The ice skating rink is open daily and some of the ponds have frozen. Some have tried skiing in the mountains but there isn't much snow for a base yet.  Carlos has managed a few x-rays from those unfortunate souls.

When you add cold and windy weather conditions to limited sunshine, people tend to get a little tense at times.  For this reason, you will see many of the airline seats filled as many Alaskans head for Mexico and Hawaii, or anywhere Alaska Airlines flies, with increasing frequency.  You'll find us in south Texas during January.

If you would like to see an sample of our daylight hours, you can view photos at: