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Cloudy skies take a bite out of aurora views

After several days of sunshine, clouds are quickly building back into Southcentral
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 10:44 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The past few nights have been spectacular for aurora viewing across much of the state, as high pressure gave way to clear skies. The only exception was for the Aleutians and portions of Southwest Alaska where clouds have steadily been on the increase. Here in Southcentral, not only did we see clear skies but temperatures dropped to 20 degrees. That’s the coldest low that we’ve seen this season.

Although the clear skies have been with us for the last few days, the aurora hasn’t been as visible unless you lived closer to Talkeetna and Hatcher Pass. Southcentral is already seeing clouds build in from the Southwest, as a storm builds in the Bering Sea. These clouds will keep us several degrees warmer tonight, with lows only bottoming out in the mid-20s. While the aurora forecast isn’t virtually nonexistent for Southcentral, it will be exceptionally hard to come by due to the cloudy skies. Best viewing opportunities will be for Southeast Alaska and points north of Glennallen.

Daily aurora activity can only mean one thing: winter in Alaska. While we’ve already seen a taste of it earlier this week, the upcoming storm will bring another round of wintry weather. Initially, we’ll be on the dry and cloudy side to start off the weekend. Highs each day will top out in the mid to upper 30s, with lows dipping into the 20s. The only exception will be for coastal areas where a cold rain and possible wintry mix will occur beginning as early as tomorrow.

The best chance for any moisture in Southcentral will come as a secondary low move in from the Pacific. This will push plenty of moisture into the region Sunday afternoon into the night. It’s here where we’ll see our best chance for a wintry mix. Any snow will lead to light accumulation before a push of warmer air moves in by Monday. It’s here where we’ll see a changeover to rain, with the exception of the higher elevations.

Any moisture tapers off by the middle of next week, with highs remaining in the 30s and lows potentially dipping back near 20 by the end of next week.

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