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Old 03-03-2011, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,762 posts, read 3,916,305 times
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Sixteen, sunny, and calm for the moment. It's been blowing like a son-of-a-gun since I got back home on Saturday. Hurricane-force wind last weekend (one of my friends works for DOT at Thompson Pass and he said Saturday was about the worst night he'd ever seen up there). We were moving into our new house in sporadic whiteout conditions. Fun, fun. The prediction is that when the wind finally stops here in a couple of weeks we're going to get dumped on big time.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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See, Valdez has always been one of the towns I want to live in when I move up; I just worry about finding employment that I would be qualified for. The only jobs I've seen posted there so far are for Park Rangers, and I don't believe I would be qualified for that. I could be wrong though, but still, I want to work in the more field-work, scientific, forestry side of things, so Park Ranger isn't what I'm looking for, based on the job descriptions I've read.

I just find the town really appealing because of the beauty of it, the close-knit community that it seems to pride itself on, and of course, the SNOW! I read that Valdez is the snowiest city in America on one list; they said they get some 400 inches per year. That is just mind-blowing, and I want to experience it for myself. By the way, where in the world do they put all that snow? I wouldn't think there would be enough melt days to make much of it go away, and that much snow piled up around town would be insane. Do they haul it away, or are there enough melt days to keep it somewhat reasonable?
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
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For most Fish and Game or Forest Service jobs the closest you'll get are Glennallen or Cordova. Apparently there are occasional openings for biology jobs at the pipeline terminal, but I haven't been looking so I don't know exactly what they entail. Maybe water quality stuff, I don't know. The snow, well we haven't gotten that much this year. Maybe 15 feet. And it's been so windy that it keeps blowing away and getting all crusty and hard. But there is snow on the ground. About four feet standing in my yard right now. And the town was built (rebuilt, rather) for snow removal. So there are lots of big parking lots and a large park strip in the middle of town that all have snow piles on them. When I got here last June there were still a couple of three-story snow piles in the park that were working on melting. When it gets really bad they apparently dump some of it in the bay.

Something to think about with Valdez is how far out it is. It ain't bush living, but it's a minimum of four hours one way to get to anything bigger. Most trips to town involve an overnight stay, which can be expensive in Anchorage in the summer. It's an added expense for regular shopping (our groceries, building materials, etc., are a bit higher than in town), doctor visits and that sort of thing, and travel. It's a nice town though, if you stay out of the bars and don't get into local politics much. The weather can be challenging, but when you can see it, the surrounding area is the most beautiful place I've ever seen.

In more weather-related news, the wind may have actually subsided for now. Yesterday was merely breezy and today looks like it might be relatively calm as well. Twelve degrees at the moment. It was a very warm 20 yesterday. I can definitely tell the angle of the sun is changing.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:56 AM
 
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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That's great info, thanks. I actually would kinda prefer to be in Glennallen than Valdez, anyway. For one thing, that area looks amazing, with Mt. Drum and Mt. Sanford and Mt. Wrangell all right to the east. Also, it's less isolated, in that you can get to Anchorage in less time, and I like the fact that it's away from the coast, because it wouldn't be cloudy as often. Yet, they probably still get plenty of snow for my snow fix. Now that you mention it, Glennallen sounds really appealing.

See, with Alaska it's like I change my mind every day (sometimes twice a day) on where I want to live in the state. What I like is that most towns I have researched have jobs available, and a lot of them have jobs in my field, as well, which is fantastic. It's such a huge amount of information to process, doing all this research, and it's a helluva tough decision. Luckily, I've got a few years to find my place and get it figured out.

Balmy 42˚F outside right now. Winter ended in the second week of February here, and there were daffodils blooming for a week or so before a few nights of freeze came back. I'm afraid we're going to get a crappy, not very vibrant spring this year because all the plants start to bloom and then it freezes again, and they go back into dormancy. Sometimes when this happens the blooming plants never really bloom. Hopefully that won't happen this year. Still, I was pretty let down that winter ended so early this year.
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Old 03-05-2011, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
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Glennallen huh? Nice in the summer, cold as hell in the winter. Can be kinda windy too, but not humid at least. They don't get more than 5 feet of snow a winter. Most of the heavy snowstorms coming from the Sound are wrung out by the time they get up there past the Chugach. Its a bit flat and far from the water for my tastes, but there are some nice areas nearby like Lake Louise, and it's a good location for getting to other places. Very small town with lots of businesses for its size, I guess because it's at the highway junction. Probably more opportunity for buying a few acres and living a more country lifestyle there than in Valdez. Hang out at The Hub long enough and you'll meet everyone in Valdez as we pass through on the way to town! What you really need to do is come visit to get a feel for these places. I can almost guarantee they're different than you're imagining them. Also, this is the weather thread.

Last edited by tigre79; 03-05-2011 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
1,978 posts, read 2,935,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigre79 View Post
Glennallen huh? Nice in the summer, cold as hell in the winter. Can be kinda windy too, but not humid at least. They don't get more than 5 feet of snow a winter. Most of the heavy snowstorms coming from the Sound are wrung out by the time they get up there past the Chugach. Its a bit flat and far from the water for my tastes, but there are some nice areas nearby like Lake Louise, and it's a good location for getting to other places. Very small town with lots of businesses for its size, I guess because it's at the highway junction. Probably more opportunity for buying a few acres and living a more country lifestyle there than in Valdez. Hang out at The Hub long enough and you'll meet everyone in Valdez as we pass through on the way to town! What you really need to do is come visit to get a feel for these places. I can almost guarantee they're different than you're imagining them. Also, this is the weather thread.
Hahaha, touche. Well, concerning weather in Glennallen, when you say cold as hell in the winter, would you say it's as cold as Fairbanks (or Salcha or North Pole or whatever)? That honestly wouldn't bother me at all, but I figure it's worth knowing. The lack of snow is something that could bother me, but the good thing about places that are very Northern is that not much of the snow melts, so what falls usually stays (at least from what I've read). I really really really want to live in a place where it snows a lot, but it doesn't need to be Valdez-like, necessarily. Five feet a winter doesn't seem like much, though. I mean, that sounds like about two 4-6" snowfalls per month, roughly. Not much more than the WNC mountains, as a matter of fact.

You are right that I need to come look at everything for myself, but as I've said, the first opportunity I will have to come is summer of 2012, and that will only be for seasonal work, so I won't be able to get a feel for what winter will be like. To be honest though, I'm not too worried about it. No bad weather, just bad clothing, ya know?
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Old 03-05-2011, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
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They're mostly below zero in the winter, down to 40 or 50 below sometimes. A guy I work with saw 65 below a couple winters ago when he was driving through, but seems like it's more commonly somewhere between -10 and -30. Mostly dry, but can be windy.

Don't know how much of a problem they have with smoke in the summers, but probably not any more than anywhere else in the Interior. Do a search on Glennallen, Copper Center, Kenny Lake, or the Copper River Valley and you may get more info about that general area.
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Old 03-05-2011, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Deltana, AK
854 posts, read 1,495,230 times
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Most years the Copper Basin sees less forest fire smoke than the rest of the interior. The humidity's a bit higher, being closer to the coast, and the predominant winds are from the south. That's a generalization though; the basin does have fires from time to time and they'll make it very smoky. Under a strong high pressure system, our smoke can make it all the way to the coast too.
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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I was just thinking to myself... I have never felt dry air in my life. I mean, sometimes it will get "dry" here on the East Coast, but usually it's still way more humid than the West. I have never been anywhere farther west than Minnesota, and even though I have been literally pretty much everywhere east of Minnesota's western border (with the exception of Missouri), I have never felt that "dry" Western air. So I have no idea what 15˚F feels like when it's dry, but I do know that it can feel pretty bone-chilling when it's that cold with the wind blowing here in the Eastern U.S.

The Copper Basin area was just an idea I got from reading around the job websites, where I saw a couple offered up in Glennallen. It's really not my ideal location, even though the surroundings look mind-blowingly beautiful. Pretty much the only places I have ruled out are Southeast (way too much rain, too much water, too many islands not connected by roads, just not what I want) and the North Slope (simply too far north and too foreign; I want an adventure, but I feel like that would be a bit over the top, at least to start out with). Ideally, I would love to live on the Kenai Peninsula or possibly western AK if I could find the right job in the right village. Maybe Fairbanks too. Hehe, Alaska sure does offer a whole lot of possibilities; it takes a lot of time to properly research everything.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:18 AM
 
Location: Goffstown, New Hampshire
21 posts, read 32,179 times
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I live in the northeast and if you want snow you will get it in AK. The experience begins to really suck toward the end of the winter though. We got about 80 inches up here so far this year. Never mind 400! That is more than enough for me. Especially when you’re a home owner and you have to remove snow from 250’ of driveway. Once you have 80 inches there isn’t any more room to put it without spending an entire day on a weekend knocking the 6’ snow banks back into the driveway and using a snow thrower to push it out even further. Plows don’t work well unless you have a ton of room to pile it up somewhere. Twice this year I had to pull out the ladder and spend the day snow raking the roof on the house and the garage. Oh yeah... and shoveling the steps on my walkway, and the deck on the back of the house. Snow blowing paths for the dogs…


Did I mention I am relocating to Alaska also?
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