Huff and Puff Heavy Hitter—Lots of local names have been given to this series of episodicImage Palmer weather events. Snowmaggedeon. Iceatopic. Windurricane. Betty White Out. There are other names but they won’t be printed in this newspaper!
Multiple Acts of Kindness—It’s stunning how this community helps one another. When the storm started there were the predictable concerns and complaints. But as the storm grew, out of the various narratives came the helpers. And as the storm’s velocity continued, the helpers’ voices became louder and more frequent. Of course, first and foremost was tremendous regard and appreciation for the Line men and women outside in the bitter elements, attempting to restore power and deal with the downed trees and debris. Rescue workers, law enforcement, firefighters and First Responders were immediately acknowledged for their ongoing, essential role in assisting others at this time of crisis. And it was a crisis—make no mistake. What started as just a winter storm elevated quickly with a number of challenging layers
Keeping The Pulse—Social media is not always the best forum for communication; however during an isolating emergency it seemed to provide for some companionship, advice, and critical information. The Palmer Alaska Buzz, which I manage on Facebook, was hard-pressed to stay up with all the energetic postings of status, help and requests.
Strangers offering Help—A shopper at Fred Meyers reached out to see if anyone needed critical supplies like water or diapers. The owners of Refuge Cross-fit immediately reached out to offer help with their “small army” for access, clearing or supplies. Unknown helpers assisted travelers with high-centered vehicles. Travelers were pulled out of drifts. Berms were cleared by a passerby. Fred Meyers was hand-packing shoppers’ cars so they wouldn’t have to fight the rogue shopping carts and winds. People checked on shut-ins and older friends. Neighbors checked on neighbors. The faith community jumped up and offered help parishioners. The Borough and Red Cross offered an Emergency Shelter at the Palmer Senior Center, downtown Palmer. Tow-trucks magically appeared to assist disabled vehicles. Electricians offered advice.
Freight Train Winds Upgraded—The sound effects of this past wind storm were bigger than freight train noises. It was more like jet propulsion engines accompanied with a high scream. Often you could hear the wind coming—prior to it hitting your home. The pounding and shuddering of structures was a heavy feature of this composite storm. There were several phases—the big snow, the big melt, the big ice and the big wind. Cumulative results are definitely more than just wind damage.
Good Stories—There will be many stories to tell about the roll out of 2022. Tales will be told and retold. Some of the finer stories are already in the books. One of my favorites was about a woman was saying all was fine in her house, except for all her chickens who were now living in her bathroom.
Trade Winds—After this is all over, there will be a lot of restoration of neighboring objects which took flight. The wind “gifted” objects in a random manner. Eventually there will be a lost and found conversation with neighbors to exchange unusual wind gifts. Airplane pieces, bird feeders, port-a potty, greenhouse, greenhouse door, rainbow play house, “Hello Skin” signage, 4 by 4 posts, fence sections, trampolines, pink plastic flamingo, insulation, shingles, wind chimes, flower pots, three tires, kid trike, small pink shovel, basketball hoop, chickens, shed pieces, carports, garbage cans, garbage can lids, freezer food, road signs, dumpsters, newspaper boxes, compost buckets, swing-sets, garden ornaments, pigeon, hand tools including large shovels and rakes, bikes, skies, and sleds.
Tumble-sheds—This is a new term for the relocation of sheds. Originally used for woody tumbleweed plants of the midwest, this term now applies to Alaska small structures which break loose and begin a free fall, roll and tumble across the fields, dispersing all contents along the way.
Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Her “Palmer Buzz 2022 Community Calendar” is available at Palmer shops. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 907.315.3222