Steel Buildings in Alaska

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December 15, 2015

Combating the Extreme Elements of the Last Frontier

The extreme conditions of life near the Arctic Circle demand extreme structures like pre-engineered steel buildings in Alaska.

Extreme Climate, Extreme Challenges

No other place on our planet presents so many contrasts and challenges as this land of the midnight sun.

metal-buildings-alaskaAlaska’s amazing beauty, the breath-taking Northern Lights, pristine evergreen forests, abundant wildlife, and rich natural resources draw people to the state’s bounty.
Yet living in Alaska is never easy. Life-threatening winter weather, wildfires, and earthquakes test the inhabitants and their structures in this “last frontier.”

The difficulties Alaskans facing include:

COLD: Not surprisingly, Alaska boasts the coldest temperature ever recorded in the U.S.: -80 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below -70F are extremely rare in the lower 48 (as Alaskans refer to the 48 contiguous states in the U.S.). Southeastern Alaska is the only part of the state where the average daytime high temperatures in winter top the freezing mark.

In punishing temperatures like these, fuel coagulates in storage tanks. Pipes burst. Vehicles won’t start. (In subfreezing temperatures, Alaskans use special electric blankets on parked vehicles to keep the water in the batteries from freezing.)

WIND: Winds as strong as major hurricanes shriek across Alaska. Just two days ago, a monstrous storm swept in from the Bering Sea, registering wind gusts as high as 122 mph at Adak Island. In 2012, Glen Alps, just south of Anchorage, clocked a wind gust at 131 mph. Last year, super-typhoon Nuri produced sustained winds of 70 mph, with wind gusts of 96 mph on Sheyma Island.

A combination of polar-like temperatures and howling winds in Deadhorse, Alaska, plunged the chill factor down to -104 Fahrenheit in 1989— the lowest wind chill ever recorded in the U.S.

SNOW: In most U.S. states, snowfall is measured in inches, not feet. Valdez, Alaska, considered the snowiest city in the U.S., averages over 27 feet of snow per year. Alaska’s record snowfall of 81 feet occurred in Thompson Pass, northeast of Valdez, in the winter of 1952-1953. Thompson Pass also holds the dubious honor of the record snowfall in one day— a whopping 5.2 feet of snow in 24 hours.

Alaska infographicJust this past September (2015), Fairbanks broke their previous September snowfall record with 11.2 inches of snow at the airport.

Heavy snowfalls can immobilize communities, trapping people in their homes. Massive amounts of snow on structures sometimes cause buildings to collapse.

LIGHTNING and WILDFIRES: According to the Bureau of Land Management, Alaska receives, on average, a shocking 26,000 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes annually. Most lightning in Alaska occurs between May and September.

Lightning deaths in the state are rare, but do happen. Wildfires triggered by lightning pose the greater threat to Alaskans.

Responsible for 97% of wildfires in the state, lightning ignites fires that burn millions of acres each year.

This year has been overwhelming for Alaskan firefighters. May started one of the hottest Alaskan summers on record— the highest temperatures recorded for 91 years. Higher temperatures produce more heat-induced lightning. More lightning means more fires. One weekend in June of this year, lightning sparked 152 wildfires in Alaska. As many 300,000 acres of Alaskan land burned in a single day.

So far this year, wildfires consumed over six million acres of land across America— 85% of it in Alaska.

These massive Alaskan wildfires devour forests, destroy habitat, pollute air quality, melt the permafrost, and change ecosystems in ways we do not yet understand.

EARTHQUAKES: Alaska sits on one of the most active seismic areas in the world. Eighty percent of Earth’s tremors occur in this belt. Alaskans endure over 4,000 earthquakes annually— more than the other 49 states combined.

Eight major earthquakes— over 8.0 on the Richter scale— have hit Alaska in the past 115 years.

The infamous 9.2 quake, which struck Alaska in March 1964, created a devastating tsunami. The quake and tsunami decimated large parts of Anchorage and totally destroyed Valdez. Over 100 people died in the earthquake in Alaska.

In July of 1958, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake shook Alaska. The quake was felt over 400,000 square miles of Alaska— and as far south as Seattle, Washington.

Steel Buildings in Alaska: Extreme Protection from the Elements

Imminent disaster seems to lurk like a predator across Alaska, threatening lives and property alike.

Only the strong, hardy, and resilient people flourish in Alaska’s often hostile environment. Strong, hardy, and resilient pre-engineered steel buildings in Alaska meet the needs of those bold modern pioneers facing the challenges of living in the state.

RHINO metal buildings in Alaska offer these advantages:

Faster erection for a short construction season
• Built-in resistance to damage from high winds, heavy snows, and lightning
• Strong loads guaranteed to meet or exceed the tough local building codes and roof snow loads for which the structure is designed for the lifetime of the structure
Pro-value insulation packages for extra protection from fierce temperatures
• Shipping from the closest factory to all points in North America, including Alaska and Canada

Get a free quote on your next building project or Alaskan steel building. Call RHINO Steel Building Systems now at 888.320.7466 to learn more about our metal buildings in Alaska.

Our friendly and experienced specialists will discuss your project with you, along with the options available for metal buildings in Alaska.

- by Mat Brown,

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