Daily Archives: 27 February 2020

Blizzard!

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The Newtok store after the storm

There is something quite impressive about a Southwestern Alaska blizzard.  We were out at the far end of the village, when our local guide told us that we had 15 minutes left to take cover.  He had become incredibly reliable with his predictions, and we had already used up 3/4 of an hour from his first warning call.  He had been counting down regularly after that first one.

Visibility had been shortened considerably, and it was obvious that we needed to take cover soon.  Even Bear, our furry, four-legged companion, had left us to take his own cover at the 30 minute warning mark.

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One side of the church…

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… and the other side of the church after the storm.

By sunset, one could hardly see the closest building to you.  The wind howled over, under and around the building that housed us.  It was simply put: Intense.  I can’t think of any time I have experienced such fierce winds.  In Fairbanks, we rarely see much wind, the colder it gets, the calmer it gets.  Out here in Newtok was a totally different animal.  Which meant that we spent far too much time outside reveling in the chaos.

The next day, the kids were climbing up snow drifts against a couple of connex units and running the length of them, then launching off into the massive piles of snow.  Backflips were par for the course.

Trails that we had been walking, now had steep drops, only to have us climb back up the other side.

We flew in on a Wednesday, and due to weather, another flight didn’t land at Newtok for the next 8 days.  Weather permitting, Grant Aviation makes 2-3 flights per day.