Clark Wolverine 9 acres $159,900
The Matanuska Valley almost always has a series of wind storms every winter. Wind is hard to avoid in the area. The center part of the Matanuska Valley between Palmer and Wasilla absorb the brunt of the Matansuka Wind. If you go up toward Willow, Big Lake and Houston you will be out of most of the big winds. In addition, the further you go out Knik Goose Bay Road, (locally called KGB road), you will avoid the winds because they dissipate by the time they get there.
The strongest and coldest wind is the Matanuska Wind which comes down the Matanuska River Valley. It hits Palmer and Wasilla pretty hard. Normally we don’t go through a winter without at least one impressive wind storm with gusts that approach 100mph. So Palmer and Wasilla are both windy. And it can be windy at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is a wind shadow caused by mountains that avoids most of the wind in the Smith and Maud Road areas that is a litte bit south east of Palmer. The Matanuska is blocked by Lazy Mountain and Byers Peak and the Knik usually does not hit this area directly. I have seen this area absolutely calm while the just a few miles away the Matanuska is gusting to 90 mph.
I did a video a few years ago to illustrate this. It’s called Escape the Matanuska Wind. Click the photo to see it.
Escape the Matanuska Wind
Speaking of gusts, this is a gusty wind and not a steady wind. That makes it even more challenging to trees and roofs and anything else not tied down. the Matanuska Wind will gust hard and then let off, over and over. Our trees bend with these gusts and then straighten back up, time after time. I would be interested to know if this makes for stronger trees because they are constantly moving with the wind.
The Butte area that is a little further south east of Palmer does not get the Matanuska Wind, but it gets the Knik wind. That is generally a much warmer wind often spilling over from Prince William Sound. Locals call it the Pineapple Express. Often that wind precipitates a thaw in the middle of winter. But it is a dusty wind in the spring that kicks up a lot of dust from the Knik River Bed. It is not as strong at the Matansuka Wind…but still a pretty impressive wind when it blows.
Many people harness the wind with turbines. It takes a strong tower and turbine to withstand the Matanuska Wind, but once you have accomplished it you can supplement your electric use. The Matanuska Electric Association has a program to allow you to connect to the grid, and you can actually turn your meter backward if you capture enough of the wind.
The area is not ALWAYS windy. And even when it is windy you cannot find a more beautiful place. I have lived in many parts of Alaska, and have learned to enjoy the wind…most of the time. It’s just one of the prices we pay to live in such an amazing place.