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Bitter wind chills well below zero into Friday morning

Wind chills could approach -25 across parts of Southcentral
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 10:42 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The well advertised storm system is tracking across the Gulf of Alaska and will bring the potential for record to near record breaking cold. Multiple winter weather alerts are in affect all across the state, as the late season storm will have some locations seeing temperatures nearly 50-degrees below average.

The storm will affect us through multiple impacts, which each one that follows being bigger than the last.

Snow:

Light to moderate snow continues to fall across Southcentral, with decent accumulation going on from Wasilla, to Anchorage and down to Kenai. This is due to a deformation zone setting up on the backside of the storm that is tracking eastward through the Gulf of Alaska. With temperatures holding well below freezing this morning, the snow that is falling is on the drier and fluffier side. This will pose some problems through the day, especially as the winds kick into high gear on into the afternoon and evening hours. As for accumulation 1 to 3 inches of snow can be expected with localized heavier amounts. Additonally, Portage Valley and down through Turnagain Pass could see decent accumulation as well. The snow will gradually let up into the late afternoon, with some clearing expected to take place.

Winds:

As the snow comes to an end and the storm pulls off to the east, winds will gradually pick up through Southcentral. This comes as northerly winds on the backside of the low taps into a trough digging through the state. As it continues to dig southward, we’ll see strong gusty winds this afternoon, with winds peaking into the night. The valley will likely see winds gusting as high as 20 to 30 mph, with winds getting progressively higher the farther south you head in Southcentral. Anchorage will see winds gusting up to 50 mph into the night, with the potential for even higher wind gusts. The greatest winds will exist from Kodiak, up the eastern side of the Kenai and into the Prince William Sound. It’s these areas that will see winds gust anywhere from 60 to 75 mph. These winds will also lead to heavy freezing spray from Resurrection Bay and through the straits and Bays near Kenai and Kodiak. While the winds will peak tonight, the windy conditions will continue into the afternoon hours for Friday.

Cold:

The strong winds will aid in pulling in some bitterly cold Arctic air. This air will have the potential of not only breaking records, but also bringing parts of Southcentral the possibility of seeing the latest subzero temperatures in April. For a large portion of the state, the bitter cold will feel more like the dead of winter, instead of our typical spring. Multiple locations across the state will not only come close to breaking records, but Fairbanks could challenge a 110 year old record. As of now, temperatures in Southcentral the next two mornings will dip into the single digits, which would be brand new records for the Anchorage Bowl. Add on to the fact that winds will be howling out of the north and our final impact will greet us.

Wind Chill:

Dangerous wind chills will be with us through the night into Friday morning. With temperatures expected to hover near if not below zero, wind chills will be a serious issue. It’s highly possible Southcentral could see wind chill readings approaching 25 below through the morning Friday. You’ll want to make sure you bundle up as you head out the door and pull out that thick parka once more, as the winds aren’t expected to fully subside until Friday evening. It’s here where even colder air, combined with radiational cooling will lead to temperatures having no trouble falling below zero.

Bundle up these next few days, as Old Man Winter is giving it all he’s got before spring finally rears its head.

Have a safe and wonderful Thursday!

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