Arctic air (and freezing fog) settles in for a few days

Arctic air (and freezing fog) settles in for a few days
Published: Dec. 17, 2022 at 8:29 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Saturday morning’s low temperature of -7 degrees at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was the coldest morning, so far, this winter season, just beating last Saturday’s, Dec. 10, early morning reading by 1 degree. Surrounding areas started the weekend shivering as the mercury bottomed out in the teens below zero.

For the Anchorage bowl and portions of the Mat-Su, areas of freezing fog and mist accompanied the arrival of the Arctic airmass. Visibilities dropped to as little as one-half mile at the airport on Anchorage’s west side, several times into mid-morning Saturday. Light winds and an inversion, or temperatures warming with height, left the fog trapped over the city into the afternoon, but thin enough to allow for signs of a bright, sunny sky above.

Outside of the fog layer, abundant sunshine dominated the Southcentral sky. Despite all that sunshine, however, afternoon temperatures only reached highs between -5 degrees (Kenai) to 10 degrees (Talkeetna). Glennallen stayed cold, only reaching a frigid -27 degrees. In contrast, it was “balmy” along coastal areas of the Kenai Peninsula with 23 degrees in Homer and 16 degrees in Seward.

A large area of high pressure that has established itself over the northern half of the state is responsible for delivering this latest polar plunge. As the high very slowly moves east early next week, Southcentral will experience a “rinse-wash-repeat” cycle of conditions temperatures, which will continue to range 15 to 20 degrees colder than normal, through Tuesday.

A minor disturbance in the Gulf of Alaska will try to send moisture inland mid-week, bringing additional cloud cover and high temperatures back into the teens. The Chugach Range will keep the lion’s share of the precipitation across the southern Kenai and Prince William Sound. Very little, if any, snow is expected for the western Kenai, Anchorage, and the Mat-Su.

Continue to travel safe and stay warm out there.