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Continued mild and unsettled weather with increasing wind

Southeast record rains come to an end, but more rain expected Monday and Tuesday
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 3:18 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The weekend started with record high temperatures at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. On Friday, the thermometer reached 47 degrees, breaking the old record of 45 set in 2014 and 1980. The record of 44 degrees on Saturday was tied with the record set in1991.

Wind gusts up to 44 mph on Friday and 42 mph on Saturday, came down off the Chugach mountains, compressing and warming the air, thus aiding in the record warmth.

Additionally, much of Southcentral including the higher elevations to the south and east, saw a continuation of scattered rain showers rather than snow. The result was very slushy conditions on area roadways beginning Friday afternoon.

Scattered rain showers, areas of fog, and temperatures in the 30s continued into Sunday. Winds, however, will be on the increase for Sunday night and Monday for primarily south Anchorage headed eastward along Turnagain Arm, and the adjacent higher elevations. Winds are forecast to reach 45 to 65 mph sustained with gusts in the 75 mph range. For this reason, High Wind Warnings have been issued until 10 a.m. Monday.

In Southeast, the well advertised atmospheric river event brought 24-hour rainfall records on Friday to a few of the official reporting stations. Sitka topped the list with 4.09 inches, followed by Juneau at 3.48 inches and Yakutat at 2.75 inches. An additional one to two inches of rain fell in these same locations, as well much of Southeast, on Saturday. For a second day in a row, new daily rainfall records were set in Sitka after measuring 2.5 inches of rain on January 22, and Juneau set a new daily rainfall record having received 2.2 inches.

The combination of the heavy rain and melting of the unusually deep snowpack caused significant rises in rivers and waterways in the region. Flood Advisories were issued for the Juneau and Gustavus areas as the Montana Creek and the Salmon River went into minor and moderate flood stages, respectively. As of Sunday evening, the Salmon River at Gustavus had fallen three-and-a-half feet below flood stage. The only other river guage near flood stage was Auke Lake near Auke Bay, but a slow decline in water levels has been observed, having crested early Sunday morning at 32.83 feet, just shy of flood stage at 33 feet.

Additionally, blocked storm drains from snow and ice contributed to standing water on roads, as a result of poor drainage. The heaviest rain moved east out of the region early Sunday morning, leaving only a few scattered showers and areas of fog. A Dense Fog Advisory has been issued for Juneau, Angoon, and Petersburg through 6 a.m. Monday as visibilities will be near one-quarter of a mile or less through the night. The break from the rain doesn’t last long, unfortunately. Another storm system, albeit weaker, will bring additional rainfall on Monday. Right now, it appears that one to two inches of rain may fall from Monday into early Tuesday evening from Sitka, up to Juneau, and over to Yakutat. Stay tuned to Alaska’s Weather Source and our mobile app for updates.

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