Q. Where is the best place to live weatherwise, and financially? -Patty
A. Well, Patty, that sort of depends on what you do for a living. With our extreme winters, you might be out of work parts of the winter if you are in, for instance, construction. If you are an indoor worker, doesn’t make as much difference. Actually though, the contractors around here are good about thinking ahead and getting foundations in etc. before winter clamps its fierce teeth down, and so lots of jobs are able to keep going. Sometimes they even construct a big plastic tent over job sites, and pump air into them to hold them up, so they can continue building. Living in such a wonderfully different place, you quite often become very inventive.
The best place, weatherwise, I feel is right where I live – in the Matanuska Valley. Just 40 some miles from Anchorage, our biggest city, you are commuting distance from jobs in the city, but have the feel of living in the country. We have about the best weather in Alaska. Fairbanks, which is about 360 miles north of us is a nice city also – the 2nd largest center of population; however, Fairbanks gets colder in the winter and hotter in the summer than we do here in the Anchorage area. Fairbanks sees days on end, in the winter, of minus 30 to minus 50….and below at times. Once it was 72 below at our house when we lived out in the Copper River Basin, which is about half way between here and Fairbanks. In July and August temps may reach 90 to 100, in Fairbanks. Here in the Anchorage area most of the winter is about 10 below to 10 or 20 above. This is fahrenheit, of course. Summers are typically in the 60’s to 70’s, with a few rare days in the 80’s. Nights are cooler with temps in the 50’s – 60’s.
South of Anchorage, you will find Homer, Seward, Soldotna and farther on down, our capital, Juneau. This is gorgeous country also, and even milder than Anchorage in the winter; however the downside is that it rains, rains, rains and when it snows it really snows. Once we went over to visit some friends in Whittier, which is located on Prince William Sound. It seemed like what I would imagine Siberia would be like. All the town’s street were like open-topped tunnels thruout the town. Our friends lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment building. Nettie said to me, pointing out the window, “see that swing set out there?” I looked and said, “what swing set?” She laughed an explained that I was actually looking down on a nice swing set, but it was totally under snow. Valdez is another place for tons of snow. Our friends there have to shovel the snow load off their roofs several times a winter…..only they stand on their rooftops and toss the shovels of snow up onto the snow bank. No joke.
So, ’nuff said. Come settle in the Anchorage area! (although I may hear from some miffed Fairbanksians!) Oh, well. I can take it!