First Sunset in over 2 1/2 months

Bill's Blog

The top picture is a screen grab this evening from the Utqiaġvik, Alaska webcam. Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow, is the northernmost point in the U.S. and well north of the Arctic Circle. When this pic. was taken, the wind was west at 23 mph, gusting to 30 mph. You can see the big waves out on the Arctic Ocean – now open water in late summer. Ice will be reforming again in late October.

The temperature at 5 pm local time (9 pm EDT) was 49°. Barrow had a mild July, reaching 60° three times (warmest was 66°). Barrow is the place to be if you don’t like hot weather. The warmest temp. ever was 79° on 7/13/1993. The coldest was -56° on 2/3/1924. The average temperature over the course of the year is 12°.

The last time Utqiaġvik had a sunrise was May 11. In this “Land of the Midnight Sun”, the sun has stayed above the horizon since then. Tonight at 2:08 am, the sun will set for the first time in over 2 1/2 months. Daylight shortens rapidly, from 24 hours on Aug. 1 to 15 hours and 52 minutes on Aug. 31.

Utqiaġvik has a population of 4,429 and 61% are native Eskimo. The cost of living is high (everything has to be flown in), but much of the population hunts and fishes and the average family income is nearly 70K. There is a healthy tourist industry with people flying in to see the midnight sun in summer. The high school actually has a football team.

South Pole – Amundsen Station

At the other end of the world, this is the South Pole – Amundsen Station. It’s the opposite of the Midnight Sun…this is where you’ll find six months of darkness during the Southern Hemisphere winter.

Weather Thursday Evening at the South Pole

Here’s the current weather as I write this…a bit on the chilly side this evening. On the plus side…no sunstroke, no heat exhaustion, no mosquito bites, no alligators or sharks. No dirt here…just clean snow and ice.

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