Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Windstorm: January, 2022

Since this is starting to hit a few national news channels (so says Google anyway) and since the winds have finally started dying down, I thought I'd give a "head's up" on how we are doing around here.

2022 came in like a wrecking ball.  A wrecking ball compiled of hurricane force winds that lasted for three days straight and hit the Matanuska-Susitna Borough hard.  It was a white knuckled ride.  

Before I link to an article about the event, I just want to assure everyone that we are okay.  Thank goodness.  My husband and I didn't sleep for three days as the winds were scary, hammering and brutal, but so far *knock on wood* we have a bunch of trees that got blown over but somehow managed to avoid hitting anything super important (at least I hope.  I haven't gotten a chance to go out and completely survey the property, but at least the house and outbuildings are okay).  The ice storm we had last week ended up being a blessing in disguise as the ice on top of the snow that we'd gotten managed to seal the snow to our roof.  So, the winds battered the house, but with all of that snow and ice to go through we managed to last out the worst of the winds with that layer of protection that the wind had to work through.  Basically it became a buffer for our roof, so we didn't lose shingles or worse and a lot of homes in the Valley were in the same condition, so I honestly think Mother Nature saved a bunch of us from roof damage.  

I mean look at that barn roof.  It was just getting down to bare roofing when the wind slowed down.  Talk about lucky.

We were also blessed living where we are because our house is right off of a major pole line that MEA (our local electrical company) tends to make sure is clear of falling tree danger, so we somehow didn't lose power.  It flickered a lot, but didn't go out.  Most of the Valley wasn't that lucky.  A bunch of people are still without power and at points nearly 30,000 people were without power at one time.  As soon as MEA would fix a downed line another outage would occur.  My hat is off to the linemen who were working around the clock since the start of this thing trying to keep as many people's power on as possible and are still out working today to hopefully restore the rest of it.  

Winds started out brutal and didn't let up.  We had winds clocking 100 mph in places and they were averaging 82 mph in Palmer.  We don't get typhoons (East Coast of US is hurricanes, West Coast is typhoons) up here, but we do get wind.  We can get some pretty good winds in the Valley (Wasilla and Palmer area of Alaska) and we have some really tough building codes in this state to deal with our unique environmental challenges, but we were not used to this type of winds for that long.  Planes at Palmer airport flipped over and were destroyed, tractor trailer trucks flipped over in the wind, we had storage sheds flying around like tumbleweeds, road signs and store signs blew off and hit vehicles and buildings (our hotel in Palmer, which worked really hard to stay open during the entire event had a sign fly through the front window and injure a few people), some people lost roofs (including Palmer Carrs lost part of their roof, their sprinklers broke and spewed water everywhere before it all froze in a crazy waterfall down the front of their building, trapping two cars out front in the process) and the A&W/KFC in Wasilla is in rough shape after their roof got ripped off in the wind and caused catastrophic damage to the building.  The Matanuska Susitna Borough declared a state of emergency and then the state did for our area.  Sadly, we are not alone in major problems right now.  Fairbanks and the Delta Junction areas are still dealing with their major ice storm and snowfall problems, Juneau has avalanches and things going on right now...and I'm sure I'm missing some, unfortunately.  The state is setting up disaster funding for people and we'll see if FEMA decides to help out on a federal level.  But, yeah, it's a mess up here right now.

Basically, there is going to be a lot of rebuilding that is going to be needed after this mess and I'm just talking about my local environment here.  We are expecting high winds until Wednesday (by NOAA), but the winds have at least died down to a point where it is closer to normal (by Valley standards) wind conditions, so I'm able to breathe again.  Unfortunately our temps are now starting to plummet down into the single digits again, which means that the wind chill is hovering around 40 below at the moment...for those without power this is scary and dangerous.  MEA had only about 8,000 people without power as of this morning (sadly I feel like "only" was a good way to put that as there were so many more people without power yesterday) and were hoping to get those people back on today, which I'm hoping they can for everyone's sakes.  We'll see how much real estate damage is done when frozen pipes start to get defrosted and things, but even now things aren't pretty.

If you'd like to see pictures of what happened in Wasilla and Palmer and places, you can check out the article here via our local paper the Anchorage Daily news.

I'll give an update on things when I can, as I'm sure I'm going to be taking pictures of things in the coming weeks, but at the moment I'm just so grateful that we weathered this storm okay.  Yes, we have trees that we are going to be cutting down (in some cases) and cutting up this Spring/Summer, but I am counting every blessing we had during this event and that my family is okay and safe.  I pray that the rest of Alaska can say the same here soon.  At least, from what I was reading, we haven't had any major injuries or any deaths reported from this event as of the article I read this morning, so I pray that stays that way.  

Stay safe, Alaska, and persevere.


  1. Wow! How scary that must have been for the whole family. So glad you didn't have major damage, and especially that you and your family are safe. I remember how hard you worked on all the damage after the earthquake.

  2. Wow, so glad you are ok. The pictures of the damage are incredible.

  3. So glad to see you are OK. I have been seeing articles about this and it is so horrible. So much damage. Take care and stay safe

  4. So glad u r all OK and kept your power.

  5. Fairbanks here. We had to spend $500 to get our iced over roof shoveled off and then the driveway plowed not once, not twice, but three times after each horrible snowfall. It was just too much for my husband to tackle so worth paying someone to do it, but we'll be eating out of the freezer for two months to make up for it! At least our winds were not as fierce as your winds were.