Hyder residents are dealing with a sizable snowfall so far this season, testing the hardy and resilient residents of the southern-most Alaskan community in myriad ways.

As of Jan. 12, Hyder already had received 187.9 inches of snow, according to Meteorologist Cody Moore of the National Weather Service office in Juneau.

“This is definitely above normal for them,” he told the Daily News by phone Thursday, adding that snowfall data for Hyder is only available starting in 2002.

Hyder’s average seasonal snowfall is 142 inches, he said.

Jan. 10 was an unusual day for snowfall in Hyder, Moore said. The 92 inches of snow Hyder received over a 24 hour period wasn’t a record, he said, but it was close to the approximately 96 inches that he recalled as the former record.

Moore said that Hyder typically does get more snow than do other areas in Southeast Alaska, due to the fact that the town is tucked deep into mountainous terrain, keeping the temperatures lower.

Forty-nine year Hyder resident Jim Simpson concurs, noting the chilling effects of glaciers in the nearby mountains.

“We've got glaciers that are just up the road from us here, so when it gets cold, that north wind, it makes stuff cooler here,” Simpson said by phone from Hyder late Thursday afternoon.

A general rule of thumb is that Hyder's 10 degrees to 20 degrees cooler than Ketchikan in the winter.

“The other day here we were right at zero and Ketchikan was right at 19, and I showed that to Diana, my wife, and she says, ‘Look, we're moving.’”

Another factor this year has been the timing of the cold snap.

“Usually your month of cold is in January,” Simpson said. “Our month of cold started at the end of November. And we were like down around zero for a month and we never get that.”

The temperatures had warmed a bit during the week, and there'd been a break in the snowfall since the weekend. Still, Simpson said there was about 16 feet of snow. One of his buildings still has about that much snow.

“I've got one building here that that's got all 16 feet on that,” he said. “I was looking at that today and like, now I gotta to go get that tomorrow.

“Everything everywhere I was shoveling today had six feet of pack, and all my buildings have … over six feet of pack on them,” he continued. “… It's actually supposed to start snowing tonight. The forecast I got is for, you know, like a half a foot tonight, half a foot tomorrow and then on Sunday, I think, we're supposed to get a foot. Last year was 22 feet at sea level. And so yeah, it can quit anytime.”

Simpson added that there have been structures in Hyder that have been collapsing due to snow pack.

“And when stuff starts collapsing, then you know that there's been a lot of snow,” he said.

Caroline Stewart, who was a weather observer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 22 years in Hyder, also spoke with the Daily News by phone Thursday.

Stewart said that as she spoke on the phone out on her porch that it was 24 degrees outside.

“It’s actually pretty mild,” she said.

A partially built house on one side of her is about two-thirds “crushed” by the snow. Across the street, a porch roof also is collapsed with the weight of the snow. Another neighbor farther down the street, blocked from her view at that moment by huge berms of snow, had his carport roof collapse, damaging his boat that was parked inside.

Stewart said that when the thick snow recently slid off of her roof, it ripped her wood stove’s chimney off with it. She said she now is more grateful than ever for her pellet stove, but with its reliance on electricity, she’ll be “couch surfing” if the power goes out again.

When asked if the local plows have been able to keep up with the snowfall, she said that at first there was a problem when on Dec. 31 the snow fell rapidly and piled up three extra feet overnight, and the regular grader and loader operator suddenly left right after. Community members recruited two young women to run the equipment, and they stepped up to the challenge well.

“They are rocking it,” Stewart said. “These girls were born for it.”

Stewart said that Hyder’s utilities and roads are useable currently, but “right now, we are holding our breath.”

These past Sunday and Monday evenings, she said they experienced two “blips” in the power system.

The road access also is a concern.

Stewart said, “it’s really scary right now, because the snow is so unstable.”

Hyder is closely linked to its Canadian neighbor Stewart, British Columbia, which is less than four miles away. Both are in a remote, mountainous location about a four-hour drive away from the nearest larger city, Terrace, British Columbia.

“We’re pretty cut off from the rest of the world,” Stewart said.

She described the highway to Stewart as at high risk for slides, due to Portland Canal edging one side, and the other side being a rock wall. The rock has many trees rooted in the cracks she said, so if one tree falls it usually takes many of the nearby trees with it. That then usually knocks out Hyder’s power and access to Stewart.

The nearest repair crews are in Terrace, British Columbia, she explained, and they have limits on how many days they can work per day. When they drive four hours to work on powerlines in the Stewart/Hyder area, they only have about four hours left to work before they must quit for the day. The electricity for the community is provided by BC Hydro facilities in Terrace.

The residents in Hyder have private wells, so when the power is out, the pumps must be run by generators, batteries or by hand if they are so equipped. Stewart said that “generators and I don’t get along,” so she maintains what she calls her “tower of power” — shelves holding two standard car batteries, a trickle charger and an inverter.

Usually she said she gets through power outages without too much problem, but this winter, her toilet completely froze up, causing a new level of difficulty.

Stewart said that Hyder's first big snowfall was in November.

“It was a big one,” she said. “It brought down trees, which took down the power lines between Hyder and Stewart.”

Hyder is closely linked to its Canadian neighbor Stewart, British Columbia, which is less than four miles away. Both are in a remote, mountainous location about a four-hour drive away from the nearest larger city, Terrace, British Columbia.

“We’re pretty cut off from the rest of the world,” Stewart said.

That November slide triggered a four-day power outage that caused the loss of not only the power, but of water supply, sewer systems and telephone service.

She said that the trees also caused transportation issues.

“That closed down the road between Hyder and Stewart, which meant we were cut off from food and fuel,” she said.

The generators that normally would allow people to power their businesses and homes became useless when they ran out of fuel.

Part of living in the community of Hyder, which Stewart said has about 40 residents currently, is filling many roles. Stewart also is the Hyder Community Association vice president, community liaison for emergency services and also the owner/operator of Boundary Gallery and Gifts. She is an artist as well, who creates fused glass pieces, specializing in encasing the ashes of loved ones into colorful, shining glass art.

The new Hyder NOAA weather observer, Carl Bradford, also fills multiple roles in the town, working also as the librarian and an Alaska Department of Transportation equipment operator, Stewart said.

When asked if people had enough food and water during the four-day power outage, Stewart said that locals are mostly prepared.

Everyone in Hyder “has enough food in their pantry,” she said, adding that their pantries often look “like a small 7-11” convenience store in quantity and variety.

“We’re a little different mindset over here,” she said.

She described Hyder’s relationship with Stewart as the little Alaskan town being highly reliant on Stewart. But when the COVID-19 pandemic arose, she explained, it became much more difficult for residents to easily cross the border for basic necessities.

She said that when restrictions allowed Hyder residents to enter the Canadian town only for essentials, Stewart community members brought four log truck loads of logs to Hyder as a donation.

“We have been far more reliant on our neighbors, and our neighbors have been the most amazing neighbors you could ask for,” she said.

During one major power outage that closed the road, Stewart residents garnered equipment to clear the road enough to bring a pickup load of staples to Hyder residents, including eggs, milk, bread, canned and boxed goods, water and fuel.

“They are amazing,” Stewart said.

Another winter stress on Hyder residents has been limited mail service so far this season. Before Thursday, the previous two mail planes had arrived on Nov. 15 and Dec. 13. Stewart said many of her Christmas gifts and personal items, such as printer ink, coffee, cat food, clothing and miscellaneous grocery items, had been stuck in Ketchikan.

A mail plane arrived on Thursday, Simpson said later that day.

Stewart said she and other community members have been lobbying intensely for the state to return ferry service to the area.

From his nearly 50 years in Hyder, Simpson said there typically isn't two good or bad winters or two hot or rainy summers in a row.

“In all my years of living here, it's never been two hot summers — it's usually a hot summer, rainy summer, hot summer, rainy summer. And it's been so much snow and then not so bad. And then so much snow and not so bad. It's always never bad, bad, bad in the summers and bad, bad, bad in the winters. … Which I'm thankful for that. I already would've bailed if it was bad, bad, bad.”

From her perspective, Stewart summed up winter life in Hyder with one sentence.

“It’s brutal up here,” she said.