Wednesday, February 1, 2012

- 66 degrees in Yukon

Yes, that is minus sixty-six degrees, over this past weekend, in Yukon, with over 328 inches of snow burying Valdez, Alaska this winter.  That's over 27 FEET of snow. This shows just how tough this land can be, and to think, it was Irishmen and Scotsmen who played perhaps the most significant role in opening it up to a curious world in the first place.

Back when Captain Jack was earning his title of Father of the Yukon, temperatures got so cold that even government-issued thermometers couldn't record the temperatures, so, canny Scot that he was, Jack invented the Sourdough Thermometer. It consisted of four vials containing elements (including mercury, whisky and medicines), each with a known freezing temperature. This way at least the pioneers would have an idea how safe it was outside.

A photo of an original Sourdough Thermometer and its description are on display in the Dawson City Museum, as well as in the Weather Discovery Center in Punxsutawney, PA, home to another famous cold weather indicator, Punxsutawney Phil, the Groundhog.

We may have another writer or two joining our ranks for March and April.  For now, why not cozy up to a warm fire (or heater vent) and read about the Celts of the Great White North?

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