Monday, April 23, 2018
Rats! Spring Fled
It was well on the way to spring this past Friday. The lake was thawing to the point people used their snow machines as jet ski's. They'd rev the machines up and skip across the lake to the other side and then the cold wind and lower temperatures hit.
All through the weekend, the icy wind howled bringing colder temperatures to the village. Temperatures that froze the lake water again to the point ATV's could safely cross the ice. Children could be seen crossing the lake form one side of the village to the other without worry about safety.
The ice covered relay up on the mountain got no closer to thawing so the restoration of our cell and internet service is pushed even further into the future. If you wonder how I'm posting, I do it at school because they have a satellite dish so the computer based state testing can continue for my village and a couple others in the area.
This morning when I stepped out, all the ground which had been brown and bare yesterday, the whole landscape had turned white from freshly fallen snow. Everything looked as it had several weeks ago before temperatures had risen.
In this part of Alaska, it is not unusual for everything to finally clear by the end of May, at least in the past. Over the last few years, we have not had quite as much snow and overall the temperatures seem a bit warmer. When I first came, when you cleared the porch of snow, you had to shovel crud upwards and over the snow bank.
In fact, during one winter storm a teacher missed a turn and ended up slightly off course. When he stopped to check his location, he discovered he'd gone up a snow bank and was standing on the roof of his apartment. There have been years where people have had to dig down and create entrances to their outdoor sauna's.
Unfortunately, with the decrease in snow, there has been an increase in plumbing issues because there has not been enough snow falling the past couple of winters to provide insulation for the waste system. I can see your confusion. The waste pipes up here are built above ground and use suction to move the water, urine, and feces from the houses to the treatment place. This means there are more problems because liquids are freezing and blocking the movement of fluid.
The only time in the past such problems occurred only when the piping holding the liquid to keep things warm broke, otherwise things worked well but with less snow we've had more problems. It has also meant that travel has been worse than normal. The higher temperatures has created more fog, more snow, and more wind. Furthermore, there has been more ice which can make it hard for planes to land.
We thought it wouldn't be long till everything melted and we got cell and internet service back but now it looks like it will be a few more weeks before spring arrives.