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Sun comes back to Barrow

January 24th, 2011 | Alex DeMarban Print this article   Email this article  

The sun returned to Barrow yesterday after a two-month absence and seemed to linger longer than it should have, thanks to a mirage known as the "false sunrise."

Some couldn't see it: Ice fog above buildings and homes cloaked the sun in parts of town, but daylight was noticeably more significant, they said.

Others saw the sun clearly, glowing brilliant and orange.

"It just feels like a new chapter in life," said Mustafa Iflazoglu, general manager at the Top of the World Hotel.

He stepped outside the hotel and into the 40-below cold for a quick glimpse.

"It just warms the heart and mind," he said.

Rich Lomire, a weather observer with the National Weather Service, said the sun officially rose at 1:05 p.m. and set at 2:14 p.m. It hadn't risen since Nov. 18.

It seemed to be up for about two hours, because cold, dense air on the ground bent the rays, allowing viewers to see a refracted version of the sun when it was just below the horizon.

"For about two hours, I could see some of it, a portion of it, or all of it," said Lomire.

The sunrise in the nation's northernmost community was very visible from NWS' offices, where ice fog isn't usually a problem.

Lomire walked outside a few times to take it in.

"I had an extra cup of coffee and enjoyed it," he said.

With 2011's first sunrise coming on a Sunday, Pepe's North of the Border restaurant held off on their usual promotion: half-price tacos. Most people were at home watching the NFL playoffs, said owner Fran Tate.

The sun wasn't visible from the restaurant, she said.

Eugene Brower stayed inside away from the cold -- fog would have shrouded his view anyway.

"With that ice fog you can't see a lot," he said.

Daylight will grow quickly. The sun should be up an extra 33 minutes today, with sunrise at 12:49 p.m. and sunset at 2:31 p.m.

Tomorrow, on Tuesday, it's scheduled to rise at 12:36 p.m. and set at 2:44 p.m., gaining 26 minutes.


Alex DeMarban can be reached at, or by phone at (907

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