Just when you thought our winter weather couldn’t get any weirder, along comes a new twist. We’re in a fire weather watch. “Winter” is used here in the Florida sense, to describe a time of the year and not the actual weather normally experienced in Alaska because, well, abnormal is the new normal.
It wasn’t enough that we had a heat wave last week where temperatures here got warmer than Atlanta or that the annual Ski for Women became the Run and Walk for Women. Nope. On top of all that, the National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a red flag warning for tonight through Friday for the western Kenai Peninsula. In areas without snow — that would be just about everywhere — high winds of 20 to 35 mph and low humidity will create critical fire weather conditions.
Holy Yellowshirts! Normally the fire season starts in April, when the snow thaws, temperatures get warmer and winds dry up the land. Oh — like now. A red flag warning means “conditions susceptible to rapid fire growth and spread.” All that dry grass could light up if someone were careless and let a bonfire get out of control. The National Weather Service advises residents “to check your local conditions and consult with your local community resources before burning and always be firewise.”
Someday, we’ll look back fondly at this winter and tell our grandchildren about the weirdest winter ever, but in the meantime, we have to get through it. Being hardy Alaskans, we could do that, if only we had some clue about what winter we had to get through. This winter could change. Actually, many of us have fond hopes for that, especially if it involves snow.
So hang in there, keep your ice cleats sharpened and your sunscreen handy. We can get through this. Meanwhile, there’s lots to do this weekend what with First Friday and Winter Carnival, like these awesome Best Bets:
BEST IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL THE BIG GUY SINGS BET: You have to hand it to Giuseppe Verdi: he wrote his opera, “Falstaff,” at 80. Not bad for an old guy. Check out the classic opera based on William Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in The Metropolitan Opera Live at the Met showing at 6 p.m. today at the Homer Theatre. Admission is $15 general, $10 senior and $5 students and children.
BEST YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK BET: It only seems fair that with Homer taxpayers helping to support the Pratt Museum, we get free admission for the month of February. See the great stuff going on there now that the museum has reopened after its January hiatus, including a new exhibit, “The Living Tertiary,” with an opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday. While you’re out Friday, don’t miss other First Friday openings.
BEST LES BON TEMPS ROULEZ BET: How does the French translate? Roll the good times? Roll up some good times? Let the good times roll? Something like that. Whatever, it’s the King’s Ball, just in time for Mardi Gras at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Down East Saloon. North Country Cajun Club plays.
BEST BIGGER AND BETTER BET: Speaking of carnival, this year’s Homer Winter Carnival promises to be one of the biggest ones yet. With the Mr. Homer contest, the parade, outhouse races and all sorts of fun stuff, if you get bored this weekend, that’s because you weren’t paying attention.
BEST ÉIRE GO BRÁCH BET: With two Irish bands playing in Homer this month, it might seem like St. Patrick’s Day has come a bit early. Nope — we’re just lucky. On Feb. 20, The Young Dubliners perform at the Down East Saloon. This weekend, catch Lúnasa, the band the New York Times called “the hottest acoustic Irish band on the planet” at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Mariner Theatre.
BEST TETRAHYDRO …. WHATEVER, BET: OK, that’s tetrahydryocannibol delta 9, or THC, the substance in marijuana that puts the “duh” in dope. With legalization on the ballot next August, there’s a lot of talk about pot’s effects. Learn more when Brian Partridge, Kachemak Bay Campus associate professor of psychology, presents “The Science of Marijuana” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the college.