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Winter Is Coming — Oh, Wait

The sun sets over the Bering Sea in the late afternoon. Clouds fill the sky, and snow covers the ground and buildings in Nome

“Winter is coming.” Those are the “house words” — a sort of ancestral motto — for the Starks, the northernmost clan in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song Of Ice And Fire and the HBO show Game of Thrones.

Well, in Western Alaska, winter is here.

In the land called Texas where I come from, I’m used to “winter” dropping in for a few days in January and February. Maybe we’d get freezing temperatures. Once every five or ten years, we’d get a chance of snow. Last Christmas, it was in the 70’s in Austin.

I knew spending a year in Nome would mean a whole different winter experience, and now I’m beginning to see what it’s like. Granted, it’s still early. We’re not even in the calendar season of winter, and sea ice hasn’t formed around Nome yet. But we’ve seen several blizzards, winds that will push you down the street if you’re not careful, and daylight under five and a half hours.

Listen in as I and my fellow KNOM volunteers return to the round-table format to discuss the onset of winter, its challenges, and some of our favorite experiences in it so far.

Image at top: A snow-covered 4-p.m. Nome twilight, November 2017 (Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM)