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Snow, wind, & record cold! Oh My!

At least one part of the state could see a 100-plus year old record broken
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 10:03 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s the calm before the storm, as much of the state is gearing up for a record to near record cold snap. Ahead of what will be a late season winter storm, Southcentral is already seeing below average temperatures. For the entire region temperatures will be roughly 10 to 15 degrees below average, even with the plentiful sunshine that we’ll see through the day. While the sun is with us to start off the day, clouds will slowly increase ahead of the approaching storm.

The storm, which is currently moving through the Bering, will bring blizzard conditions over 6 inches of snow and biting wind chills to the western half of the state. Multiple areas are already under some form of weather alert through the day and into tomorrow as the storm moves east. While the snow will end from west to east, the winds will stick around at least into Thursday morning with the colder air to follow. This is where things begin to get interesting for Southcentral, as the area gears up for one of the coldest stretches that April has seen in years.

Starting later today, clouds will steadily increase through the region. While we will remain on the drier side today, some snow can’t be ruled out after 7 to 8 Wednesday evening. Most of the snow will stay confined to coastal regions of Southcentral, where higher amounts can’t be ruled out. A Winter Weather Advisory has already been issued for the Western Prince William Sound as a result of 8 inches being possible. Farther inland across Southcentral and into the Valley, little accumulation is likely. Up to an inch can’t be ruled out with localized heavier amounts along the Anchorage Hillside. While this will be the case, downsloping winds will quickly erode away our snow chances into Thursday morning. Snow will be a very minor impact considering what the rest of the week will hold.

As the low drifts to the east it will bring the return to stormy conditions to the Panhandle. Initially snow will fall, with up to 2 inches possible for areas at sea level. However, as warmer conditions move in a changeover to a wintry mix/rain will occur. As the low moves away from Southcentral, we’ll begin to see our winds increase. Initially our winds in the afternoon hours will only be gusting anywhere from 15 to 30 mph for Anchorage and through the gaps and passes of Southcentral (many areas in the Valley won’t see as high of winds). As the storm continues to move out of the region and a trough dips into Southcentral, the winds will increase even more. It’s here where winds could gusts upwards of 40 to 50 mph across the Anchorage Bowl into Thursday evening. Because of this and the near record cold that will follow, it’s not out of the question for wind chills to fall well below zero Thursday evening into Friday. These winds will pull in very cold Arctic air, which will be felt across much of the state. For some this will be record to near-record breaking cold. Currently Anchorage is forecast to have a high of 20 degrees Friday which would be the coldest high on record for that day, with overnight lows falling near 0 (also a record).

This late season record cold will slowly modify through the weekend, as temperatures slowly climb back into the mid 20 and eventually even the 30s. While that will be the case, temperatures will still be below average through at least Sunday ahead of another potential snow maker. By Monday of next week, we could be finally talking about highs returning back to spring averages.

Here’s a look at the forecast across the state and how they hold up to their records!

City/VillageAverage High/LowRecord Coldest HighRecord Coldest LowForecast
Anchorage42°/27°24° (2013)7° (1985)20°/3° - Friday into Saturday Morning
Bethel30°/15°5° (1985)-21° (1956)1°/-12° - Friday into Saturday Morning
Bettles28°/5°7° (1988)-31° (1986)-4°/-35° - Thursday into Friday Morning
Delta Junction38°/18°8° (2013)-8° (2013)-1°/-27° - Friday into Saturday Morning
Fairbanks40°/16°11° (1911)-32° (1911)5°/-30° - Friday into Saturday Morning
Homer42°/28°22° (2013)7° (1968)23°/10° - Friday into Saturday Morning
King Salmon40°/23°17° (2013)-7° (1985)11°/9° - Friday into Saturday Morning
Kotzebue16°/0°-9° (1984)-24° (1984)-7°/-24° - Thursday into Friday Morning
McGrath36°/13°13° (1984)-19° (1985)6°/-21° - Thursday into Friday Morning
Talkeetna43°/23°22° (2013)-13° (1968)17°/-10° - Friday into Saturday Morning

Be safe and have a warm rest of the week!

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