A look at the Christmas travel forecast

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 6:50 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Here we are: It’s Christmas week, and so another big travel week. Whether you’re hitting the pavement, taking to the skies, riding the rails, or sailing the waters, here’s what you need to know.

Let’s start in the Interior where 6 to 10 inches of snow has fallen since Sunday afternoon.

“Road conditions in the Fairbanks area are currently difficult, but they are improving as our plows work through our priority system,” said Caitlin Frye, public information officer with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Moving into Southcentral Alaska, today’s snow and ice may cause travel troubles into Tuesday, not just in Anchorage, but for areas north and east along the Glenn Highway into Glennallen, as well as north and west along the Parks Highway.

Snow then spreads across Southeast Alaska on Tuesday. Otherwise, the rest of the state will be free of any additional snow or rain falling from the sky until Wednesday. That’s when another Bering Sea storm spreads a swath of snow across Southwest, up through the Seward Peninsula, with rain for the eastern Aleutians.

Mostly quiet weather occurs across the state on Thursday, setting the stage for Santa and his reindeer to have smooth sailing while navigating the skies and landing on rooftops Christmas Eve. Only areas of very light snow are expected for Fairbanks and the Interior as well as across Southwest.

Pack your patience returning home as active weather returns starting on Sunday. A stronger storm will spread heavier snow and gusty winds for all areas of the state north of the Alaska Range.

You’ll also want to plan for a high volume of fellow travelers as AAA estimates more than 109 million Americans will be on the roads, in the sky, or on the water between Thursday and Jan. 2. That’s about a 34% increase from 2020, or 92% of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Whatever your plans, Frye suggests to “just make sure you’ve got some emergency supplies in your car, you’ve got a charged cell phone, you’ve got some warm clothes, and just be prepared for an emergency.”

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