A Chinook Blew Through Tok Today

img_0643I don’t know what it is about chinooks that feel unsettling to me. The temperature in Tok today is in the 30s. That is PLUS 30 degrees Farenheit for those who know that the temperatures here can get pretty cold. This time of year minus 30 is common.

I should be enjoying this warm weather. But there is something haunting about a warm wind blowing.

I’m not sure what it is about a chinook in the middle of winter blowing across a snowy landscape that disturbs me. Does it remind me of something from my past?

I remember these chinooks  in Wyoming. Maybe this wind is carrying me back to my time spent on the vast open plains of the West, at a time in my life when I was disconnected and alone.

Maybe these chinooks are like the loneliness you feel when you are with someone you love and then they have to go away – deceptively warm at first but intensely cold and empty once they’re gone.

When I stepped outside today, I was overcome with a feeling of foreboding, as if the warm winds were bringing bad news or sad feelings amidst their swirls and gusts. Even though the sun was shining and the sky was promising blue, I wanted to retreat back into my car, back into my house, and wait it out until the warm winds stopped blowing through Tok.

Am I the only one who feels haunted by chinooks? Tell me I’m not crazy.

UPDATE: Kay noted in comments that there is a study about women 20-49 and chinooks. Fascinating excerpt:

Autonomic reactions and skin disorders were found to be significantly related to chinook conditions. None of the psychological symptoms was related to chinook conditions. However, a significant relationship was found between symptoms and chinook conditions in women with a history of emotional disorders. This type of information is important to educate chinook-sensitive women and health professionals as well as for hospital emergency departments in order to be able to prepare for potential increases in workload.

Marja J. Verhoef1   Contact Information, M. Sarah Rose1 and Savitri Ramcharan1

(1) Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, T2N 4N1 Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Received: 4 February 1994  Revised: 14 December 1994  Accepted: 15 December 1994

Guess this means I AM crazy, eh?

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The Tok Report – Car in Cold Weather

I’m playing around with Seesmic and seeing if my DSL connection will handle it. Here’s a little clip I just made about cold weather and vehicles. (I wish I could embed the video but WordPress.com doesn’t seem to allow it.)

Click for Video


What are YOUR cold weather vehicle stories?

GeekStorm 2009 – Unleashing the Weather Geeks

National Oceanic and Atmosferical Administrati...
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Who knew that the photos I posted of a Davis Weather Station showing -80 degrees and another showing -71 degrees would unleash a veritable storm of debate about the veracity of the temperature reading. Not only that, it sparked one heck of a heated argument about whether or not global warming – or climate change – is real (see comments on NPR’s site).

Even the fabulous weather geeks on Talk Weather chatted about the reading.

Now I have government types contacting me curious about the readings and wanting to see the computer data from the computer attached to the Vantage Pro 2 of said readings. That interest has resulted in a guy from NOAA coming to Tok next Friday and chatting with some folks here about the readings, the weather, and why/why not those readings may or may not be accurate.

All I can say is…


All weather geeks welcome!

I’ll report back once the data has been analyzed and give you all the inside skinny.

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And For Those Who Need Proof…Minus 80 Degrees F

This is a shot of the weather station temp gauge at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge offices in Tok, Alaska.


I’m still looking for a thermometer for the house that will register lower than -60 degrees. Any ideas?

Errr…This is Also How People Dress in Tok

I thought I was going to see some ridiculously extreme outerwear in this video, but this is the stuff everyone here in Tok wears, too. I recognize those white boots. Gotta ask where they got them.



Burying the Needle in Tok Alaska


Me: How cold is it this morning?

Husband: I think it is 60 below.

Me: Think? Did you check?

Husband: I did but the needle is buried.

Me: Under snow?

Husband: No. Haven’t you ever heard the expression “Bury the needle?”

Me: Err…no.

Husband: Oh, you must not have been a teenage boy in Montana.

Me: Not that I know of.

Husband: You know, racing your dad’s Pontiac and getting up past 120 miles per hour. It only went up to 120. If you went past that, you were burying the needle.

Me: Is it colder than 60 below?

Husband: Could be. It buried the needle.

What To Do in Tok When It is Nearing 50 Below Zero

Here is an example of what kids do in Tok when it is too cold to go outside…


Here’s an example of what grownups should NOT do when it is nearing 50 below…


…that is, don’t leave your wine stash in the pickup truck outside in the winter in Tok…