On August 13, 2017, a severe weather alert was issued for Port Heiden by the US National Weather Service. It reads:
…A ‘Fall-like’ system will bring rough surf to Bristol Bay…
West to northwest winds will increase through the day today and persist overnight into Sunday. This will lead to quickly building seas and the potential for large, breaking waves along the coastline. 8 to 10 foot breakers are possible starting Saturday afternoon and persisting through Sunday morning. Relatively low tides should help to keep water levels from rising inland, but some minor beach erosion is still possible. Residents and mariners
should take caution to protect property and stay safe through the weekend.
Port Heiden has consistently intense winds. I love it. The moving air adds character to each scene and ends up an integral part of every moment. The summer breezes have been great, their path inland when they come from the west carries sweetly salted and oceanic scents. It’s divine, really.
Being such a fundamental aspect of life in Port Heiden, people prepare for the winds by securing their outdoor possessions and ensuring their homes are stoutly built. It’s not as pressing in the summer, but the time to prepare is now – since the gusts turn especially strong in the winter months.
As winter truly takes hold, I’ll discuss more on how the wind is both a liability and asset to Port Heiden and its community members.
Personally, winter has become an introspectively productive season. There is something marvelously motivating about Alaska when it gets darker and less hospitable. I like to think the conditions reveal folks’ true character. But there’s beauty as well. The lazy, clean grace of the arctic and subarctic frigidity is brilliantly offset by the brutal conditions, which are especially crazy on the Alaska Peninsula.
For now though, summer still lives on. Yet, August is the start to Port Heiden’s autumn, which means that winter and her snows shall soon be upon us.
And if the aforementioned weather advisory is any indication, this winter might get interesting. I’m pretty excited for this potentiality.