Tag Archives: anchorage

Alaskan Heat Dome

A huge upper-level high pressure has parked itself over much of southern Alaska; Graphic credit: TropicalTidbits.com

Record breaking temps hit the southern part of Alaska on July 4th. A large high pressure dome has planted itself over the state, and is moving very slowly north and east. Several communities in the southern part of the state have seen all time record high temperature records broken. Fairbanks probably won’t be seeing any all time records broken, but we are going to see temps in the upper 80’s within a day or two as the high pressure moves into our area. Just what we need with all the fires around the area.

Broken records:

Anchorage Merrill Field: 90F
King Salmon: 89F
Kenai: 89F
Illiamna: 86F

These are all-time record highs for our coastal areas; The Anchorage Bowl had never recorded 90 degrees before. When one thinks of King Salmon, you picture wet, rainy, cool weather as you fish for salmon. The coast could be breaking records for the next 5-6 days, as the high pressure takes its time moving out of the area.

Cracks along the rails

Quake Update:

Cracks along the rails north of Anchorage; Photo credit: Alaska Railroad

The railroad between Anchorage and Fairbanks remains closed from the recent 7.0 earthquake. There are several sections like the photo above, with cracks that have developed along the rails. The cracks in the photo run 2-4 feet wide, and 200 feet long.

No timetable has been given to a return to rail traffic between Alaska’s two largest cities.


The on-ramp seen around the globe:

Before/After Minnesota Blvd on-ramp; Photo credit: Alaska Tourism Board

The onramp from Minnesota Blvd to International Airport Road became Alaska’s most famous, with the photo of the SUV left stranded eight feet below grade.

I often make fun of Alaska’s DOT, but they have done a great job, by all accounts, getting Anchorage roads ready to handle traffic again. That interchange was rebuilt, repaved and lines painted in four days. Not bad, considering there was not an asphalt plant up & running at the time. A plant had to reopen, because everything was closed for the winter season.

Anchorage hit with 7.0 Quake

An onramp to International Airport Road from Minnesota Drive in Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage experienced quite the shaker at 8:29am Friday morning. The earthquake was initially pegged at a magnitude 6.6, but was quickly updated to a 7.0 by Friday afternoon.

A stranded SUV on the collapsed onramp

The earthquake was followed by an estimated 5.8 aftershock, and several smaller ones throughout the day on Friday. A tsunami warning was issued immediately for the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island and Cook Inlet. No tsunami developed, and the warning was called off less than two hours later.

Flights into Anchorage International Airport were being diverted to Juneau or Fairbanks. Departures from the Anchorage Airport began again at 11:30am.

Vine Road, just south of Wasilla, Alaska

The epicenter of the quake was 7 miles north of Anchorage, directly across the Knik Arm from Alaska’s largest city. Depth was at 27 miles. There are reports of road damage throughout the area, and several reports of damaged buildings. Residents have called in saying that the Glenn Highway has some sections of severe damage, although there is no official word on that yet. As of this writing, no casualties have been reported.

This is the largest earthquake to hit the Anchorage area, since a 7.1 in 2016. The Friday morning earthquake was much closer to Anchorage and the MatSu Valley, so damage is expected to be higher than 2016.

As of Friday afternoon, Alaska has experienced 43,926 earthquakes in 2018.

Photos credit: Anchorage Daily News

Alaska Ends Holdout

And then there was one…

An era will officially come to an end in Alaska, as the final two Blockbuster Video stores will close by the end of August.

Alaska is currently home to two of the final three Blockbusters in the United States, with a store in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. The two stores have the same owner, and are still making a profit, but with the profits in continual decline and the leases up at both locations, ownership has decided to close down.

Blockbuster Video, Fairbanks, Alaska

In 2013, the state still had 13 Blockbuster locations, but that has dwindled to the final two holdouts over the last five years.

Both locations will open at noon on Tuesday with an inventory sale that will last through the month of August.

With the closing of the two Alaska stores, the last Blockbuster in the U.S. is in Bend, Oregon.

The Alaska Railroad

Anchorage Depot AKRR
Anchorage Depot

While in Anchorage, we took a tour of the Anchorage Depot of the Alaska Railroad. Founded in 1902, the Alaska RR first hit the rails in 1914. Today, the railroad is owned & operated by the State of Alaska.

Interior of Anch Depot
Inside the Anchorage Depot

The rails extend from the south eastern towns of Whittier and Seward, through Denali National Park, and north to Fairbanks and Eielson A.F.B. The main line has 470 miles of track.

Alaska RR
Alaska RR train getting ready to leave the station. Probably the Glacier Discovery run.

The Alaska Railroad is one of the last flag-stop routes in the country. The Hurricane Turn run allows any passenger to get on or off the train along the route. Just wave a white flag at the engineer, preferably while not standing on the rail.

AK RR cars

In 2015, the Alaska RR hauled 4.29 million tons of freight, and carried 475,034 passengers.

Bear on the run

A black bear led Anchorage police officers on a high speed gallop through downtown the other night. It took 3-1/2 hours to corral the male bruin in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

The 200 pound black bear was tranquilized by Alaska Fish & Game officials, and then released outside of the city at “an undisclosed location”.

According to Fish & Game spokesman, Ken Marsh, “It found itself downtown and probably was a little confused. He was doing his bear thing, and before he knew it he was in the city.”

The above video was posted by the Anchorage Police Department on their Facebook page.

Kincaid Park

Kincade Park trail

A beautiful day on Friday in Anchorage. So I headed out to the 1500 acre Kincaid Park to walk some of its 30 miles worth of trails. From Kincaid, one can take the Coastal Trail, which ventures 11 miles north to downtown Anchorage, hugging the coastline.


The Sleeping Lady
“The Sleeping Lady” across Cook Inlet

Down in the Big City of Anchorage for the start of the hockey season.

Slushy Start

Ceremonial Iditarod start
Photo credit: Erik Hill/ADN

The ceremonial start to the Iditarod Sled Dog Race took place in an extremely slushy and very brown Anchorage today. Snow had to be trucked into town and a slim trail formed on Fourth Avenue for the 78 mushers and their teams, who attempted to get to Wasilla. The temperature was above freezing for the start, and quickly rose to 40 debs. One Canadian musher, Brian Wilmshurst, decided to head out in shorts. That’s the right attitude!

2015 Iditarod start - Anch
Photo credit: Bob Hallinen/ADN

Mushers will now load up into their trucks and drive the 360 miles to Fairbanks for the official restart on Monday. We do have more snow, and we received a welcomed snowfall this weekend, but even the Fairbanks start has it’s warm-weather related challenges. In 2003, the last time Fairbanks held the start for The Last Great Race, the teams left for Nome from the Chena River just downstream from downtown. The thin river ice in 2015 will have the mushers take off from the road system heading overland.

The total purse for this year’s Iditarod is $725,100 with the winner of the race getting $70,000, before dog food.

Downtown Anchortown

Anchorage @ Night