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Major winter storm sets sights on Southcentral

Long duration snow event will occur in two phases
Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 6:41 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Our team of meteorologists have talked about it for a couple days now. The weather pattern that had us locked in very cold, mainly dry weather for the last half of November has changed to one that is more active and thus, more snowy.

The upcoming winter storm is still gathering strength over the Bering Sea. Snow and wind will arrive into Southwest Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula overnight and become steady and locally heavy on Sunday. Winter Storm Warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for this area through early Monday morning for the combination of heavy snow (5 to 15 inches) and gusty winds (35 to 50 mph). Snow will then spread into much of Southcentral Sunday morning along the western Kenai, mid-day in Anchorage and the western Kenai, and early afternoon for western and central areas of Prince William Sound. Snow, along with some wind gusts of 30 mph, will cause reduced visibilities and tricky travel. For this reason, the Kenai Peninsula is under a Winter Weather Advisory, but a Winter Storm Warning has been issued for locations around Prince William Sound where snow will be measured from one to two feet, along with wind gusts in the 30 to 40 mph range Sunday into Monday.

That’s just phase one of the storm. The snow will taper off early Monday morning for the western Kenai and Anchorage as a new low pressure center develops near Kodiak Island. Skies will remain cloudy, with a few occasional snow showers, or possibly even rain showers, as temperatures warming through the 20s and into the lower 30s. As the new low intensifies and moves toward Prince William Sound late Monday (phase two of the storm), jetstream dynamics on the storm’s backside will help to bring additional bands of snow, perhaps locally heavy, back into the Anchorage area Monday night, which should continue into much of Tuesday. Snow accumulations for Anchorage will likely be in the 1 to 3 inch range by early Monday morning, followed by a few more inches once snow picks up again Monday night into Tuesday.

The heaviest snowfall totals again will be confined to locations in the eastern Kenai and those surrounding Prince William Sound (Moose Pass, Whittier, Valdez, Cordorva). This will add to an already very deep snowpack and “considerable” avalanche risk in elevations above 1,000 feet. Stay safe and please check back for continuous updates on this major and long duration winter storm.

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