Midwinter rain-on-snow a game changer

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By Ned Rozell

A few hours of a December day may affect living things for years to come in the middle of Alaska.

On Dec. 26, more than an inch of rain fell over a wide swath of the state. Much of the backcountry of Interior Alaska now has an ice sheet beneath a foot of fluffy snow.

With half of the seven-month winter yet to come, things look grim for creatures not adapted to rainfall in winter, when supercooled surfaces turn water falling from the sky into a sheet of glass.

All the streets in Fairbanks are now ice roads grooved corduroy by grader blades. Animals without

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