Higher temps are a treat for Thursday, windy and colder for Friday

Southeast Alaska to see widespread snow, heavy at times, on Friday
Thursday's temperatures start in the teens as clouds give way to sunshine. Gusty winds on Friday bring back the bitter cold and cause blowing snow.
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 10:08 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Stepping outside Thursday morning, there’s a much different feel to the air as temperatures warmed through the night, reaching the teens in the Mat-Su and Anchorage, the 20s across the central and northern Kenai Peninsula, and the 30s across the southern Kenai coast.

It’s a remarkable change considering temperatures Tuesday morning started as low as 10 and 20 below zero. Case in point; Kenai saw the thermometer warm 51 degrees from a bitter minus-31 degrees at 10 a.m. Tuesday, to 20 degrees above zero at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Sadly, this “warm spell” won’t last long as temperatures will begin to drop back down into the single digits and teens Thursday afternoon and evening. Overnight, east and northeast winds will increase significantly, bringing back the very cold air for Friday. Winds will stay strong on Friday, especially throughout the lower Mat-Su area with gusts ranging from 50 to 65 mph right into early afternoon. This will cause a number of issues for the region:

  • The potential for significantly reduced visibility (overnight Thursday through Friday morning) as low as 1/4-mile at times, simply from the strong winds picking up loose snow from the deep snowpack, causing it to blow and drift around leading to a literal “ground blizzard” despite a mostly sunny sky, which is why a blizzard warning has been issued.
  • Dangerously low wind chill values (feels-like temperatures) as low as 50 degrees below zero, for the Cooper River Basin, Thompson Pass, and Valdez areas where a wind chill advisory has been issued.
  • Power outages to occur from fallen trees on power lines.

Winds will begin to diminish Friday night and especially Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, in Southeast Alaska, get ready for some significant snow as the week comes to a close, likely causing travel troubles for the Christmas weekend. Winter weather alerts are in effect as snow will spread over the region late Thursday evening and then increase in intensity on Friday.

The snow will come to an end by Saturday afternoon as temperatures warm into the middle and upper 30s from Juneau south to Petersburg, and Ketchikan, changing snow over to rain. By then, anywhere from 10 to 16 inches, with some localized amounts in the 20 to 24-inch range, will have fallen. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph will also create areas of blowing snow, further reducing visibilities. Unfortunately, stormy weather is likely to continue into Christmas Day and the start of next week.

Stay safe and warm!