BLIZZARD

By: joealaska , 8:24 AM GMT on January 30, 2012

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A couple of nights ago we had a real blizzard. Big wet snow flakes all night. It was predicted, but I pay little attention. When I wake up during the night, it is dead quiet. The Dutch Hum is missing. And no wind. But I knew it was bad when I was wakened by DUTCHIE pawing the window trying to grab snowflakes.

We had a 6 AM delivery that morning, and it was lucky we got it done. Half my crew got stuck on the way to work. This was heavy wet snow, slushy heavy. Hard to shovel. I went out to the Tahoe and knew there was Trubba. A two foot drift was where there was nothing 8 hours earlier. I figured I could get out, WRONG. I did the rocking thing. GNU guy showed up (I was giving him a ride), and he did a bit of shoveling. But all I needed was a gentle push.

People were stuck everywhere. Like my main warehouse guy. But we were too busy to send someone to pull him out. Eventually I went to get him. I had a shovel and a heavy strap. We did a little shoveling and hooked up that strap. The wet snow was very heavy, almost like water.

A big snow shovel rig was plowing the street. The guy saw our predicament and came up and plowed as close as he could. Then he stopped and let us tie the strap up to his rig. It broke very quickly. But he had a thicker strap. We tried again, and he got the van out.

It was a major snow removal effort that day. But there were few places to put it. Piles of old snow were everywhere. And it got warmer. It has been below 20 since I got back from sunny Florida. Now it was at 40. The typical Dutch Major Melt ensued. The first time this year I saw pavement.
My Chow Porch was under 2 to 3 feet of snow a couple days ago. It is now all gone.

Dutchie has not been outside for about 7 weeks. She screams wanting to go out, and I open a window (as a joke), and she slinks away.

STUPID ME, I thought today would be an easy day. YEAH. I was woke up at 7 AM telling me there would be a delivery at NOON. Glad they did not call at 4 AM, I guess.

I was at my place until about 10:30 thinking it was a light day WRONG. One big order for 10 PM, then another for 6 PM. Then 9 PM. Stuff we had top spend time pulling. EVERYONE wanted fresh produce. But we had just filled a large order of produce, so we were already low. And everyone wanted the same stuff we just ran out of. Frustrating.

The Perfect Storm. By coincidence I am watching that movie as I write.

I was there until 9:30.

Sorry about the few photos and blogs. Right now I am just doing what I get paid to do.

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23. dotmom
6:50 PM GMT on February 05, 2012
Heard that Europe in places was getting deluged with wintery weather in all forms. Sorry UK - but at least you not only baked the cake but also can eat it! Happy Birthday Brother! Don't you forget to sing Happy Birthday when you get ready to cut into it! Freeze it for a later date?

One of the things they do around here in our neck of the woods is "brine the roads" when snow is predicted. Consequently, that "salt wash" helps to melt the snow as it falls and hits the ground. So far this year we have not seen that tested. We have had one measurable snow. I am ready for Easter!
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22. OGal
2:45 PM GMT on February 05, 2012
Link



Joe thought about you this morning when I saw this in the Sunday paper.
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21. insideuk
12:55 PM GMT on February 05, 2012
I think Joe must by now be feeding hungry aliens crash landed from a distant planet. He has been so busy shoving vast quantities of food out of the warehouse and onto trucks that there can't possibly be an empty freezer, larder or tummy anywhere within 500 miles of Dutch Harbor.

Except possibly his own...


Today my plans for a family gathering have been scuppered by THE SNOW – none of us is 4 wheel drive equipped, and my brothers rear wheel drive is close to useless on slippery slopes. I had baked him a cake for his birthday today too – I sent him a photo of it instead.

I'll send another one later of me eating it for him...

Maybe I'll watch the DVD's I've bought him too.

So far this winter we have had a mild old time of it – some days have been more like t-shirt weather – then suddenly we got snapped back into the correct season.

Siberia decided it wanted to share its weather with all of Europe, and slowly (all week) we watched the freeze slip over from the east (killing hundreds in its wake) until last night several inches of the cold wet fluffy stuff fell, as the cold air mass (Siberia's) collided with the warmer wet air (yours, I believe) to the west of us. Derbyshire seems to have been hit hard, but everywhere to the south and east of me has also been blanketed.

Usual scenario.

London is SHUT.

Having spoken to my newspaper delivery man I know our local MAIN roads had not been cleared as of 9am today (snow arrived 3pm yesterday). No surprise there.

North Derbyshire has big hills to deal with – the flatter urban areas must fend for themselves. I have soup.

And cake.

This snow was accurately predicted days ago. The UK has barely used any of its road salt stocks this year. The road traffic was quiet on a Saturday evening, thereby allowing the snowploughs freedom to work unheeded across the important road networks...

And yet the main arterial MOTORWAY that circuits LONDON became impassable to due abandoned vehicles and jackknifed trucks.

Ditto the motorway which heads west out of central London.

And north.

It's a bloody good job the 2012 Olympics is a summertime event.

Meanwhile, in the land of big ICY puddles (Unalaska) they are advising motorists to be careful when driving on Summer Bay Road and near Ballyhoo due to high avalanche risks.

Joe.

GO EASY WITH THE BUBBLE PUPPY VOLUME WHILST YOU DRIVE THE SLUSH PUPPIE ROUTES.
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1634
20. MissNadia
4:47 PM GMT on February 03, 2012
A Bump For Joe,
Years ago we anchored up in Dutch, twice, to take refuge from storms on the Bearing Sea. At that time " The Church" was surrounded by about 50 homes.
Across the harbor, behind the spit, the Navy Dock was covered with trash from WW Two. Several big gray barracks type buildings were also near the dock.
That was it ! No aids to navigation, no ships or boats of any kind, no nothing!
How things have changed with time.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
19. MissNadia
6:32 PM GMT on February 02, 2012
Things could be worse Joe !

Wind Chill Warning

Statement as of 5:41 AM AKST on February 02, 2012

... Wind chill warning remains in effect until noon akst today
in channeled areas...

A wind chill warning remains in effect until noon akst today.

* Location... in channeled areas along the southern Seward
Peninsula coast..

* temperatures... 25 to 30 below.

* Wind chill values... locally to 60 below.

* Winds... local northwest winds to 25 mph in channeled areas
this morning.

* Timing... continuing through noon today. Channeled winds are
expected to diminish this afternoon.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A wind chill warning means that dangerously low wind chills with
sustained wind speeds of 15 mph or more are occurring or
expected. If outdoors... cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite.



Record Report



Statement as of 3:13 am AKST on February 2, 2012



... Record low temperature for Kotzebue...
on 1 February 2012 the low temperature
recorded was 46 degrees below zero. This
broke the previous record of 43 degrees
below zero set in 2006.
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18. dotmom
11:04 PM GMT on February 01, 2012
Looks like lots more snow coming down on you. Come on spring!!!
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17. Arbie
6:43 PM GMT on February 01, 2012
I had a feeling from Joe's pictures that he must have had a nice break in the weather.

IAOtter, for whatever it is worth, I live in a wooded community with lots of ponds and streams, and people sometimes have issues with protected birds (or animals) setting up residence in unwanted places. I haven't had it happen to me, so this is second-hand. What officials tell people to do is make lots of constant noise and light. I think you can only disturb them when the nests are empty though. I know that because there was a bald eagle nest for several years in a tree by a lake in our town. One year, they waited until the babies were grown and gone, then they put up an apartment complex next door. Supposedly, they had to wait until the babies were gone to disturb them. And any construction was outside the little do-not-touch zone perimeter. I've also heard people talking about that issue with other incidents. So, your brother better get busy!
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
16. joealaska
5:39 PM GMT on February 01, 2012
A BEAUTIFUL sunny day yesterday.

Last night 50 mph winds and blowing ice, plating my windows again.

More wind today blowing harder, blizzard conditions suposedly happening again.

Mt Cleveland is erupting again, which could stop flights into and out of Anchorage.
Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 887 Comments: 868
15. ladyhomer
5:09 PM GMT on February 01, 2012
Woke up to yet another blizzard here in Homer it is coming up the chain & is now here,blowing snow ,rain & up to 5o mph winds we are to get up to 6 inches of snow today, guess I'm not going anywhere!! visibility is going to be down to not seeing anything. My cat is going crazy right now as she does not like the winds. Also our temp went from the minus degrees up to 35 right now. That's not so good as we have huge piles of snow & when that all starts to melt you know what that means!!!!We also have a lot of eagles here I really enjoy watching them we have a nest here in my neighborhood that we watch every year we have had a huge rabbit explosion this year so they have plenty to eat. Thanks again Joe for the blog & the pics I really do enjoy them!! try not to get blown away today!!!!
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14. iaotter
3:13 PM GMT on February 01, 2012
Joe,
Congrats on the new AC. I looked back at some of your other eagle photos and am amazed at the numbers of eagles that congregrate around Dutch.
Is there anything in Dutch they DON'T sit on? YOu have pics of eagles on fence posts, light and electric poles, your weather gizmo, roofs, nets, cranes, rocks, walls, roofs, boats, shipping containers and the ground. Seems like if a person stayed still long enough they might find an eagle roosting on top of their head.
They look like they could become a nuisance.
HOW DO YOU SHOO THEM OFF PLACES WHERE THEY AREN'T WANTED? (Don't mean to shout, but this is an important question.)
My brother has one that hangs around his house in eastern Iowa and it is eating his squirrels and rabbits, doves, and at least one cat. Since they are protected he doesn't feel like he can do much about it, but sure would like to encourage it to move on.

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13. dotmom
4:35 PM GMT on January 31, 2012
Ms. Nadia thanks for all your updates and Arbie, thanks for the reporter's narration of his escapade.
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12. MissNadia
1:35 PM GMT on January 31, 2012
Healy has left Dutch and is en route Seattle and home !
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11. Arbie
12:20 PM GMT on January 31, 2012
I agree with Rotty. I think we are all happy to hear Joe's first hand news out of Dutch whichever which way it comes. I think it is fine to follow the natural ebb and flow of your available time.

Dave, I have been following that other Livermore guys' pics of your area. Sad to see it so brown. Glad you got some rain. Glad you are getting the finger taken care of. Love the quote.

I did find one account of one American who managed to get some direct contact with the Renda. This is from TheArcticSounder.com. The link, if you want to read it yourself.

Almost aboard the Renda: Alaska writer has time for tea, breakfast before getting booted
January 13th 1:51 am | Jim Paulin

I thought for sure I'd be riding the Renda to Nome to report on the historic mission to deliver fuel to the ice-bound community. Instead I 'walked the plank' in the Aleutian Islands.

I boarded the Russian tanker just before 6 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Delta Western Fuel Dock in Unalaska. I took my bags into my comfortable little stateroom; say about 8 feet wide by 20 feet long, with a bed, couch, desk, closet and sink.

The Renda was loading gasoline, and was expected to be finished around midnight with the vessel sailing soon afterwards. But the vessel didn't leave until a few minutes before ten in the morning, while I watched from the dock.

About 45 minutes earlier I was notified by vessel agent Michail Shestakov that I had to get off the boat at the request of a federal agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

CBP had ruled that the Jones Act waiver only applied to the cargo of fuel, not passengers.
So, with the vessel agent and crew standing by, I threw my unpacked stuff into bags in a big hurry, and walked onto the dock on the portable stairs known nautically as a gangway or gangplank.

I have to admit it felt a bit like "walking the plank" in the Hollywood sense, even though I was headed onto land, not overboard, not going swimming for the last time in my life. The few hours I actually spent on the Renda were very pleasant and a nice Russian cultural experience.

I was treated to several servings of blintzes, thin folded little pancakes with sweet cream, a new culinary experience. I drank a lot of tea, Gold Bond-brand teabags heated with water from a big shiny samovar. There were no big coffeepots like on a U.S. vessel. Coffee was available, but only instant coffee.

Of the four scheduled meal breaks, one was an afternoon tea. I'd long known the British were big tea drinkers, but I hadn't known that about Russians. The steward, a middle-aged Russian lady said she was working hard to learn English a little at a time. I'd looked for my Russian phrase book without luck at home, and it would have been useful and educational, especially if I'd spent a week on board with mostly non-English speakers.

The meals were served in Vladivostok time, four hours earlier. When my watch said 6 p.m., the Renda's clocks said 2 p.m., according to the correct time in the ship's homeport. Sadly, bureaucracy cut my story short.

I would love to have been on board motoring through the Bering Sea ice pack, watching the Coast Guard cutter Healy break ice. But the most important thing is the fuel delivery. The Jones Act waiver allowed the Renda to transport gasoline from Unalaska/Dutch Harbor to Nome.

Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
10. insideuk
11:23 AM GMT on January 31, 2012
It's hard to think of those big burly hairy arsed fishymen getting into fist fights over a mere fresh fruit salad once they hit the dock...

But I've been able to think of little else for the last 24 hours, this blog is terribly distracting at times.

I read on ADN.com that the plan was for Renda and Healy to split off in different directions just as soon as they had broken past the ice. The Healy is only due a short stop in Dutch before heading home to Seattle. I'm certain the chaps on Renda are headed for a Russian port that will then allow them to disembark and purchase fresh cherries also.

I've also learned something new about the plans to work the frozen oil fields of the Arctic regions. Last week the Norwegians were showing off their design for a special submarine that can service the seabed rigs that are already in use.

These submerged oil factories are presumably operated from a nice warm office somewhere where fresh fruit is widely available (but largely ignored in favour of glazed doughnuts) but they occasionally develop faults which require new parts to be fitted.

So these subs take people and parts to where they are needed to carry out repairs without having to worry about icebergs and stormy weather happening on the surface.

Unmanned subs have been used in the past but they apparently can't operate in poor weather, which results in delays. Which costs mega dollars. Which the oil companies are obviously reluctant to pass on to motorists....

I made that last bit up.

It all leads me to think it is only a matter of time before Joe starts dropping heavy boxes down even heavier hatches. And since he has trubba not slipping on an iced up steel deck wait 'til he tries the curvy version.

There won't be a tip for that topsy turvy pizza delivery...

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9. Ylee
6:17 AM GMT on January 31, 2012
Alright, easy access to the grill! If only you had the time to use it... :(

Like the eagle picture and the caption!
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8. calpoppy
1:26 AM GMT on January 31, 2012
Go Coasties!!!!!!!!!
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7. dotmom
8:09 PM GMT on January 30, 2012
MissNadia: Never underestimate the power of a woman. If you want to get something done - give it to a busy person! Yeah for the fairer sex!
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6. MissNadia
7:53 PM GMT on January 30, 2012
An interesting fact ..... Both the Captain and the Chief Engineering Officer of Healy are Women !!!!!!
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5. MissNadia
7:50 PM GMT on January 30, 2012
Looks like Healy is in Dutch.... Good Job Guys and Gals !!!
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4. MissNadia
1:27 PM GMT on January 30, 2012
Good Morning,
Well Healy is out of the ice and on the move...should be in Dutch for lunch. I have no idea where Renda is.
Joe, there are 100 guys on board wanting food.... wing truck ???
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3. traumaboyy
12:26 PM GMT on January 30, 2012
Agree with Rotty Joe, Glad to still hear from your neck of the woods from time to time!!
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2. Rotty3
11:01 AM GMT on January 30, 2012
Joe, don't worry about not upkeeping w/ the blog. You have a job that you get paid for. The blog is a fun activity.
I think I can speak probably for most, if not all, if not all Joeblogger friends and fiends when I say, we are happy you're posting. Period.

Around here, I've been dealing with smoke from controlled (?) burning. Saturday night it was 10 feet visibility. Lifted during the day, then last night just as thick again (heavy and mixed with fog).
I think I take your blizzard over that. Still having hard time breathing.

Hang in there Joe, things will get better. They always do :)
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1. DHaupt
9:35 AM GMT on January 30, 2012
Hang on Joe, we're almost to Ground Hog Day. We did have a decent few days of rain last week -- 1.4". It's been clear to partly cloudy ever since with no rain in sight. I can go out in the mid-afternoon with a long-sleeved wool shirt and feel comfortable so long as I'm out of any wind and in the sun.

The new solar panels are making up for lost time.

I've not spent so much time on the computer this past week as a result. I've also been somewhat lamed up with an attack of gout in my right little finger. It made typing a pain. Thankfully, the prednisone and gout medicine have kicked in enough to get me past the acute phase. Now I only deal with stiffness and twingy, occasionally sharp pains; gone is the constant ache and worse pain from even moving a nearby finger. Getting my car keys out of my front pocket after I thoughtlessly buckled up was an agony. The ordeal will continue in a few weeks with stronger meds and maybe minor surgery to get rid of a couple of nasty nodules (tophi) around the finger joint. The bones and the joint itself are in good shape.

As Marcus Tullius Cicero once observed: Considering how we all struggle mightily to achieve old age, what is there to complain about?

Poor Dutchie: hell hath no fury like a cat that wants out.
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About joealaska

After moving back to the lower 48, I have bought an RV and have been living on the road.

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