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Deceptive & Dangerous Beauty

Today is a perfect example of this deception. It has been hovering at a steady -45°F in most areas this weekend, (though when this was posted it had warmed up to -36°F).Last night it reached and stayed -50F and less in many areas, but the key is that it has not risen above -45°F for most places. The key factor is that the temperature has not fluctuated. Because of this the Ice Fog has been extremely heavy, causing the National Weather Service to issue a weather advisory today. I know a lot of you think, “Oh she lives in Alaska, this is normal, why is she bitching?!” I don’t care how long I have lived here, no one thinks this is normal. All we are wishing for is that our temperatures would get back to being normal, around -20°F to -30°F respectively. This decades warming temperatures (supposed global warming) have impacted us here in the Interior and through out the rest of Alaska. Having temperatures drop and STAY this low is an unusual situation.

Having moved from the desert of Arizona, I acclimatized pretty quickly my first winter (It did help that I road on a school bus!) The Interior is a desert, albeit a COLD one. Do not look at Anchorage weather and assume that this is what it is like in the Interior. Anchorage is much more humid, which is one of the reasons a lot of us consider it a Suburb of Seattle. Here in Fairbanks, our snow is usually very dry with sand like texture, not wet and fluffy. The only snowmen we find 
here are in the faces of our animals and ourselves after being outside!

What makes it deceptively beautiful is the innocuous visage outside of most of our windows. I quickly stepped outside without a coat on to snap a few photos of the sun rising and thought, “Hmmm, it is not that bad!” So I stepped up onto the road; Crocs, t-shirt and yoga pants with no coat. I snapped a few more photos and started walking down the road to grab a more direct view of the sunrise when my next intake of breath caused me to cough, the breath in my lungs freezing. The air was literally leaching the moisture out of my body.

The one factor that people seem to forget up here is that one of the reasons we have ice fog, frozen pollution, is because of all the folks leaving  their cars running to keep the interiors warm. Yes, their engines need to stay warm, but how long is one going to spend in Fred’s grabbing food for dinner?! In the parking lots where people tend to stay longer than a couple of hours there are plug-ins. The University’s and many others set a timer to conserve electricity. You do not need to have your block heaters going 24/7. We plug into a timer, they do just fine, especially our new car! It stays on for two hours and is off for two hours.

Other contributing factors are the electrical plant and dogs, YES dogs! In a resting state, which as many of us know especially me after almost being taken out by the Snow Ninja up the street, they contribute half the moisture in the air.

Above the Fog

Right before my lungs tried to freeze! Looking up to Doc John Rd.

By the way, yes we can throw a cup of coffee in the air and make it snow! Proof is in the video seen at the bottom of this post.

@AKBirder - A view from above the Ice Fog


ice fog—(Also called ice-crystal fog, frozen fog, frost fog, frost flakes, air hoarrime fog,pogonip.) A type of fog, composed of suspended particles of ice, partly ice crystals 20 to 100 ?m in diameter, but chiefly, especially when dense, droxtals 12–20 ?m in diameter.It occurs at very low temperatures, and usually in clearcalm weather in high latitudes. The sun is usually visible and may cause halo phenomena. Ice fog is rare at temperatures warmer than ?30°C, and increases in frequency with decreasing temperature until it is almost always present at air temperatures of ?45°C in the vicinity of a source of water vapor. Such sources are the open water of fast-flowing streams or of the sea, herds of animals, volcanoes, and especially products of combustion for heating or propulsion. At temperatures warmer than ?30°C, these sources can cause steam fog of liquid water droplets, which may turn into ice fog when cooled (see frost smoke). See ice-crystal hazearctic mist.


  1. Beautiful photos but I can see from what you write that the beauty comes at a price. Fascinating. Thanks Kriss. Cathy x

  2. Gorgeous photography, Kriss. As you so vividly described, though, it comes at a price. Your words have managed to chill even this seasoned Michigan woman, who dreams of living in the harsh Upper Peninsula, to the bone. Stay warm & stay safe, hon. You’re an amazing spirit I feel privileged to count among my friends & I don’t want you transforming into my Friendsicle! LOL! 😉

    Warm (definitely a bit warmer anyway) hugs from Michigan,


    • AWWWW I am warmer already! It has warmed up to -34 this morning! YA! *grin* Thank you for the wonderful feedback!

  3. First of all I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Cheers!


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