Ididamush3: Mercury Falling
Interior Alaska experiences some of the coldest temperatures in The Great Land. Because of mountain ranges on every side acting as walls, pools of cold air can build up and intensify for weeks on end. The "lower 48" will sometimes be the sad benefactor of these cold pools because over time they drift west, then south, get deflected by the Rockies, and usher frigid cold snaps into the midwest and eastern seaboard. An Alberta Clipper is well known in the northern plains, a condition often brought about by air from interior Alaska. Cold air is naturally more dense than warm air, so once cold air has become entrenched, it takes a significant weather event to scour the cold air out. It is far from uncommon for temperatures to reach around -20 to -40 degrees, and -60 degrees is no stranger to interior Alaska. In Fairbanks (Alaska's second largest city), there is a phenomenon known as "square tires". As a parked car sits overnight and the temperatures fall, the air becomes more dense and thus "smaller" for lack of a better word. The weight of the car and gravity continue to work overnight and when morning comes, the tires are literally flat on the bottom instead of round. The only way to remedy them is to warm up the air in the tires by driving on them. So many a Fairbanksan (Fairbanskian? Fairbanksite?) will start their daily commute with a loud "thud! thud!" as their tires attempt to become round again. In part three of my mushing adventure for www.GoToAK.com, we hit the trail once again with the mercury on a free fall. This is the episode you get to meet the dog team! Six amazing dogs named Dar, Moby, Starbuck, Ahab, Strider and Sam. Oh, and you also get to find out how cold it needs to get before a video camera says "ENOUGH!". Hit the play button, let's get mushing! Iditarod is just weeks away! Lance Mackey will be going for a record setting FIFTH consecutive victory. Who are you rooting for? Post your favorite here on the site! Stay tuned for part four of Ididamush. Believe it or not . . . it gets even colder. Until we rub noses again!