Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cyber snow junky

As the snow starts to fall on the upper elevations (somehwere someone made first tracks this weekend and it wasn't me!) I'm going into hyper-active snow watch mode.
This is an addictive habit that might have been a lot harder to feed only five years ago and non-existent at the beginning the decade.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internets, however, I can follow every flake of snow that settles and every line carved in that snow almost anywhere in the Kenai’s or Talkeetnas.
Take a look at the right side of this blog and you'll see a list of fixxes, I mean links, that get me through my week.
Sure you may have thought they were a neat array of other web sites to check out, but between avalanche advisories, trip reports and up to the minute web cams you're looking at a cyber dope dealer that serves a la carte.
It's pretty phenomenal how well technology is stealing the mystery out of weather prediction.
This is particularly evident in the array of remote cameras and weather sensors located in all parts of the state.
From the comfort of my living room, in one click I can determine that despite the fact that it's clear and beautiful here in Sterling, in Summit Pass it's socked in, calm and pouring at 1,000' above sea level.
With a second click from by 'favorites' tab I can find out that just 2,000' above the afore mentioned sensor, the temperature is below the magical number 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yet another click and I can see hourly images captured from another ridge 30 miles away in Turnagain Pass that show snow piling on the tundra.

A view from an FAA web cam in Palmer this afernoon. Looks nice!

This weekend I learned of yet another site managed by the Federal Aviation Administration with web cameras all over, and I mean ALL OVER, the state. It's awesome.
On Saturday afternoon, trying to decide if I should call the day a loss to the buckets of rain falling outside my window and hop on the trainer for an indoor spin I Iinstead, checked the camera in Anchor Point, an hour and 20 minutes south of here, around noon.
The skies were clear, and to the view south looked great.
The National Weather Service radar showed the storm tracking north, and I knew if I held onto my figurative handlebars, the skies would likely clear here in another hour too.

A snowy view from another FAA cam west of Lake Clark Pass taken at 4:30 this afternoon.

Guess what.
They did. And while it was nothing to write home about, at least I was able to avoid yet another ride on the trainer and get outside for a couple of laps around Tsalteshi.
In the months to come I’ll save myself a great deal of consternation and heartburn as I flip through my browser tabs in the dark hours of winter mornings reading ‘snow-tel,’ temperature inversions and gauging visibility in the mountains an hour and change away before my eggs and bacon are even out of the fry-pan.
Is bacon grease bad for keyboards?


Alaska Jack said...

Nah, but even if, keyboards are cheap and bacon calories are essential for those big powder days.

Dante said...

Well said.