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Alaskan Chinooks

Posted by on January 9, 2016

The usual winter storms have settled in over Alaska. For as long as I can remember, it seemed like we always got our first snow (that stuck around) on Halloween. It would be cold for November, and then the Alaskan chinooks blew in and you never knew if we’d have snow for Christmas.


Alaskan Chinooks - IdlewildAlaska

Chinook is a name for many things. There’s the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, common in the military, the Chinook dog breed, the Chinook Indian Nation, Chinook Elementary School in Anchorage, AK…

But to me, the chinook is a winter storm in Alaska. It’s that warm southern wind that blows in and often brings rain and sometimes eventually snow with it. The winds howl at 100 mph or more. Trees blow over. Power lines are knocked out and the roads turn to wet ice rinks. Temperature will go from negative 20 F to 40 above in a matter of hours. I adore windy days because of these chinooks. To me, wind means warmth!

As usual, we had this chinook blow in this December and melt all our snow for Christmas. We lost power for several hours one day. As soon as it blew away, the temperatures dropped to hover around 10 degrees for a couple days, and then another chinook blew in. Yesterday it was 14 degrees on the homestead. This morning it is 41. We’ve been warned the roads are ice rinks, so we’ve decided to stay home.


As much as we Alaskans miss the snow and frozen rivers to play on, this respite from the snow helps a lot around the homestead. Thanks to no snow, the hubby and I were able to cut, split, and stack a birch tree that we had cut down a couple years ago in our front yard. Green birch wood takes at least one year and more often a couple to dry to be good firewood. (Ah, firewood, the unending chore.)

Alaskan Chinook provides a chance to split firewood for the winter on the homestead - IdlewildAlaska

We borrowed my uncle’s log splitter to help the process go much faster than by hand. We were able to process two trees in a matter of several hours. When you’re working against the weather, you take the breaks when you can and get as much done as possible.


Our front porch is now lined with firewood, ready for the snow and cold temperatures to return for the rest of our Alaskan winter.



Firewood during the Alaskan Chinook - IdlewildAlaska

Dorothy approves of the warm weather and firewood. That snow shovel will get used sometime this winter!


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3 Responses to Alaskan Chinooks

  1. Vickie

    Oh – the look on Dorothy’s face says it all! “Whooee – that was a lotta work, but boy are we gonna be warm” 🙂

  2. Chay

    Just clicking through and I found your blog – Love it! I was doing some research on other local homesteading (read:amazing) Alaskan women. We’re just starting out but wanted to give a “hello!” I hope to get to know you better through your blog as time goes on!

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