Tuesday night, the Upper Valley experienced an impressive display of the Aurora Borealis. The lights are caused by particles from the sun being thrown into space and interacting with the charged particles in Earth’s ionosphere, which begins about sixty miles above the surface. This is referred to by scientists as a geomagnetic storm. Donald Hampton researches those storms for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He says the geomagnetic storm on Tuesday was very rare.
“It’s kind of a once-every-ten-year kind of storm. Just the magnitude and the duration were quite spectacular, actually.”
Geomagnetic storms are rated on a scale of one to five, based on their intensity. This week’s event was rated a G4, or ‘severe,’ storm. On Tuesday, the northern lights were visible across substantial areas of the Lower 48. Storms that strong also have another effect, however. Donald Hampton says communications systems, such as telephones and radio, can be impacted when their signals hit the ionosphere.
“That plasma actually reacts to that electromagnetic wave going through there, and it can do things like attenuate it, so the signal you think you’re going to get out of the other side may be a lot weaker. So, instead of hearing a radio station ten miles away, you might only be able to hear it one mile away, or something like that.”
No significant outages were reported in the Upper Valley as a result of Tuesday’s geomagnetic storm, meaning that the event amounted to nothing more than an impressive light show.
Do you have pictures of last night’s lights? We want to see them on our Facebook Page!
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly unanimously opposed Mayor Larry DeVilbiss’ request for an advisory vote on banning commercial marijuana operations in unincorporated areas of the Valley. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:
All seven members of the Mat-Su Borough Assembly voted against a resolution that would have put multiple advisory questions on the borough’s October ballot regarding commercial marijuana. Mayor DeVilbiss submitted the resolution, which would have asked whether borough residents outside of incorporated cities desired a ban on commercial growth, manufacture, testing, and sale of the plant. Read More »
Cari Sayre reads a couple short stories. The Wizard of Oz starts next week.
Recorded live from the KTNA studio, 6 pm Tuesday, the evening before the expected finish.
A Talkeetna man was found wandering the Yentna River on Saturday evening, according to the Alaska State Troopers. Troopers say 68 year old Terry Connell was about twenty-two miles west of Willow when area residents on snowmachines encountered him. The snowmachiners built a fire to warm Connell up, then took him to the Yentna Roadhouse, where he was treated by a nurse. Connell was was flown to an unspecified Anchorage area hospital for treatment for exposure. Connell told Troopers he had been wandering the area near his property for four days after having snowmachine issues.
Recorded live from the KTNA studio, 6 pm Sunday.
Recorded live from the KTNA studio, 6 pm Thursday.
On Tuesday, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly is scheduled to hear two resolutions offered by Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss regarding marijuana in the borough.
The first resolution asks the Assembly to approve seventeen alternate seats to the Mat-Su Borough Marijuana Advisory Committee. The Assembly approved the creation of the committee earlier this year, and will vote on Mayor Devilbiss’ nominations for that board next week. In comments at the last Borough Assembly meeting, the mayor said that response was so strong that he was contemplating asking for the alternate seats to be created.
The other resolution to be offered regarding marijuana would call for an advisory vote during the borough’s October elections. If Mayor DeVilbiss’ request is approved, the ballot would ask Mat-Su voters outside of the incorporated cities whether the borough should prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and retail facilities in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su.
In his reasoning for the request, Mayor DeVilbiss says the ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana allows local governments to make some decisions regarding commercial activities involving the substance. He also says that, overall, the unincorporated areas of the borough voted against legalization last November. Both statements are accurate. The unincorporated Mat-Su precincts in the Lower Valley nearly all voted against Proposition 2. From Meadow Lakes north, the votes were slightly in favor of legalization of marijuana.
Since the two requests are in the form of resolutions, they are not subject to the same requirement for public hearing and advance notice that ordinances are.