September 7, 2012

An Alaskan Hurricane

Disclaimer: No, this post is not about a fancy new drink Steve concocted.  I wish.  

I have never experienced a hurricane, only seen and heard about them on tv.  However, this past Tuesday night I think we experienced Alaska's version of a hurricane.

If I could have, I would have posted about this yesterday.  However, we've been without internet since Tuesday night. Without internet because a massive wind storm tore through the city the night before last.  I'm talking 50 to 90 mph winds.  Sensors in many of the windiest places around town, like the upper hillside, lost power before the apex of the storm, so meteorologists are even suggesting gusts likely reached 100 mph (160 km/h) or more! An unofficial number of 131 mph (210 km/h) was even quoted. Whoa is right! Those numbers are comparable to last week's Hurricane Isaac. So was Tuesday's wind storm Alaska's version of a hurricane?  I think so.

Thankfully we live on the west side of town where the wind, although definitely still really gusty, was not as bad as the east/hillside. If I was having anxiety thinking the roof of our house was about to blow off, I can't begin to imagine what people on the hillside were feeling.  I can tell you I probably would have been out in the car.  Ya, I have some weird and irrational fear of buildings collapsing.  Don't ask where it came from, but the wind storm definitely did not help.

Enough about my craziness... According to some, parts of the city looked like a "war zone"-  trees were uprooted, fences were demolished, cars were smashed, float planes were overturned, transformers were blown and wires were downed.  Around 50,000 Anchorage residents were without power, some for over 12 hours. As of this afternoon, some residents were still without power.  I just think about all of the poor people who worked so hard over the summer stocking their freezers full of fish for the year, only to potentially lose it all.

Yes it gave me anxiety, but it was also cool to watch out the window and to marvel at how strong even some of the skinniest trees are. Do you ever wonder why only certain trees get entirely uprooted?  Is it survival of the fittest tree? And those poor animals. I wonder how the animals that live in the wild, like the birds, moose and bears, handle wind storms?  Do they hug close to a tree branch that's swaying with the wind or do they find a place in tall grass or between large rocks to hunker down for the night? Either way, I would not want to be them during a wind storm. I don't think I'd be a very good wild animal, especially in Alaska. However, I must say, the animals at the Zoo have been on a high since yesterday morning due to the unlimited smorgasbord of fresh birch and willow browse. They definitely don't mind a good wind storm if it means fresh browse.

Annnywaaays... Although the storm created citywide confusion and more work for firemen, insurance agents and utility, maintenance and city workers, most importantly no one was reported injured. And we have internet again. Happy dance.


1 comment

  1. Hey! I've been worried about everyone up there ... hoping they're safe, they're homes aren't too badly damaged, and of course, that the animals are doing okay! I think I worry about them more than the people!


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