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When It’s Springtime in Alaska…

An aerial view of Nome, Alaska, its airport runways, and nearby mountains, covered in snow in late winter 2017.

Springtime takes on a very different form in KNOM country. Severe weather is a fact of life in sub-Arctic Alaska all throughout the year. Blizzards are possible in May; snow and ice may persist even into June (and can return as early as August).

At the same time, spring brings rapid change and transformation to the region. As this newsletter goes to press, Western Alaska’s listening communities are gaining 5 to 7 minutes of daylight each day, and they’re keeping alert for signs of thaw, which can be gradual or come in starts and stops. “Break-up” in the Alaskan Bush is different every year.

In this unique season, KNOM is a source of updated information. Hourly weather forecasts let listeners know whether it is safe to travel; weather alerts can be early warning signs for dangerous conditions, like high winds or flood risks; and even something as simple and incidental as daily sunrise/sunset information is a welcome reminder that summertime, even if still many weeks away, is on the horizon.

An aerial view of Nome, Alaska, and the surrounding countryside.

An aerial view of Nome, Alaska, and the surrounding countryside; March 2017. Note the snow-covered, frozen Bering Sea (in the lower third of the picture); in some years, Nome’s shore ice does not completely melt until June. Photo: Margaret DeMaioribus, KNOM.