Stuck in an atmospheric rut

Southcentral and the Interior continue to shiver; Southeast stays storm weary
Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 11:28 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At the risk of sounding like a broken record, very cold temperatures remain the dominate weather story across the state and in Southcentral. Despite a sunny, cloudless sky, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport only managed a daytime high of eight degrees, which is 20 degrees below normal. Additionally, Palmer only reached -1 for a daytime high and many other locations in the Mat-Su Valley barely made it above zero degrees despite all that sunshine. Incredible!

While Southcentral shivers, Southeast has been dealing with several winter storms this past week, and this weekend was no exception. A storm system brought a record 6.7 inches of snow to Juneau on Saturday with additional accumulations occurring Sunday morning. The storm total for Haines is at least 18 inches as of early Sunday afternoon, with a preliminary storm report of 10 inches in Skagway around White Pass. Department of Transportation officials report “very difficult” driving conditions on both the Haines and Klondike highways.

Overnight, attention shifts to the south channels and the Ketchikan area as an additional plume of moisture feeds in off the eastern Pacific bringing an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain through mid-day Monday. Along with the rain comes the potential for gusty winds on the order of 50 to 60 mph from Midnight through 6 a.m. For this reason, the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning.

Unfortunately, there will be no rest for the storm weary Southeast or the shivering Southcentral and Interior. A blocking signature in the jetstream winds aloft will continue to pull arctic air southward from the pole across much of the state and into Southcentral through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This same block will also keep a very active storm track across the Aleutians into the Gulf of Alaska and into Southeast. Already, central and northern locations in Southeast are under a Winter Storm Watch for the next strong winter storm that will arrive late Tuesday and linger in to the first half of Thanksgiving bringing additional heavy snowfall and gusty winds. Prepare your travel plans accordingly.

We are also monitoring the potential for some accumulating snowfall (of the light, fluffy kind) for Prince William Sound, Southcentral, and Southwest Alaska beginning late Wednesday on into Friday. Keep checking back for updates on this situation.

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