Sunday, February 5, 2017

Stikine Wind

A just amazingly beautiful day on Friday here in SE AK, temperature in the mid 20s but the sun is regaining some warmth so it felt warmer in the sunshine.  It was incredibly windy which is pretty typical here in the winter on sunny clear days as the Stikine River valley funnels the high pressure air from interior Canada down to us.  The wind was a little odd yesterday as there was also a strong wind coming from the southeast as well as those northerly Stikine winds.  We had steady winds of 30-35 mph with gusts much higher.  A great day for a walk in the woods!  Actually, it was a bit of a sketchy day to be walking in the woods, there were trees getting blown over in some parts of town, but I'm a bit of a junky for extreme natural events.

This video below is just under a minute long and is pretty loud so be sure to turn the volume down on your computer if you watch it and shows some hemlocks and spruces really getting pummeled by the wind.

These powerful winds were also making some small waterspouts and almost waterspouts out on the water which looked beautiful when the sun was setting. 

These next two photos are taken looking up at the Stikine River delta and the mouth of the Stikine River.  The river is normally frozen in the winter and its water level is very low which exposes a lot of sand and silt that is normally underwater.  I am very curious to know just how much sediment is moved downriver during the winter, it is a lot for sure, sometimes on days like this, the dust cloud coming out of the river is well over a thousand feet high!  The trees on the delta and on the islands in the area of the delta are full of fine silt in their bark and the moss growing on them, on a dry spring day on the delta, puffs of dust will spring up as you walk around and if you shake a small tree you will get a good dusting of silt.  One of the islands downwind of the mouth of the river, Rynda Island, was logged in the 1980s.  I knew one of the loggers who was part of the logging of that island and remember him telling me that when a tree would fall, a huge dust cloud would fly up and that he would be covered in silt at the end of each day.  There is so much silt embedded in some of these tree that they were wearing out the chains of their chainsaws much, much faster than normal.

The photo above was taken with a high ISO setting on the camera just after the sun had gone behind the mountains to give it the grainy look to go along with the idea of how much silt is in the air.    The small island in the foreground is Sergief Island which is an island of great interest to me.  There is a lot of really interesting nature going on on this small island.  This island is shown to be exactly 500 feet high on topographic maps so you can see just how high the clouds of silt extend above it.  There is the beginning of a little waterspout there on the water.

This photo is of  the mouth of the Stikine, the official ending of the river.  The dark point of land on the right is Point Rothsay, (locally pronounced "Rossi"), when you pass this point you are officially "on the river".

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