As teams prepare to return to the trail the new drama of the 2013 Iditarod will be the storm bearing down on Western Alaska. Predictions are for wind, snow, and rain in the next few days. In a word, ugly. The unknown is how long it will take to materialize or if it will dissipate before it reaches the trail. Oftentimes coastal storms will lose a great deal of their energy as they make their way inland. Here in Bethel, it hasn’t begun to blow yet, though temperatures have been warm all day.
Pete and the Team will return to the trail at 1:15am. Rested and ready, this next phase of the race could determine the next winner of the race. Unlike last year where it was a horse race, if Mother Nature is involved, anything can happen.
The trail to Iditarod is 128 miles from Takotna. This is an Odd year (2013) so leaving Ophir so it is the Southern Route of the Iditarod Trail. In many ways it is a whole new thing. Pete may be a 3 time veteran, but this will be only the second run through this trail. Leaving Ophir, the trail will head southwest into the mining country of Flat and Iditarod. It is largely rolling hills and few trees. If a south wind materializes it could be a bit of a challenge. I would think that Pete will have to take a break during this stretch of the course. When we awake in the morning we will see how well teams are making it through the stretch.
Here are his 2011 Stats through the trail (Click to Enlarge):
AKZ215-071500- LOWER YUKON VALLEY- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...RUSSIAN MISSION...GRAYLING... HOLY CROSS...SHAGELUK...ANVIK...FLAT 255 PM AKST WED MAR 6 2013 ...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM THURSDAY TO MIDNIGHT AKST THURSDAY NIGHT... .TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS TAPERING OFF WITH SNOW REDEVELOPING TOWARD MORNING. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH. LOWS IN THE LOWER 20S. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH. .THURSDAY...SNOW...MIXING WITH FREEZING RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON. SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 1 TO 2 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 20S TO LOWER 30S. EAST WINDS 20 TO 35 MPH GUSTING TO 50 MPH. .THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS...MIXING WITH FREEZING RAIN IN THE EVENING. LOWS IN THE 20S TO LOWER 30S. EAST WINDS 25 TO 35 MPH. .FRIDAY...CLOUDY. PERIODS OF SNOW...MIXING WITH FREEZING RAIN. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 30S. SOUTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 30 MPH.