Extreme winds blast Alaska, whipping up problems

Power outages, drifting snow, stuck vehicles, and low wind chills slam the Southeast
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 5:33 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Whipping winds blasted across the Matanuska Valley and the Wasilla and Palmer area, with winds up to 80 mph in spots, the Wasilla airport seeing 73 mph. Residents were asked to stay indoors and off the roads if at all possible. Winds should subside by Saturday evening.

Anchorage International Airport saw a wind gust of 68 mph. This stands as the third strongest wind event for Anchorage — ever.

An amplified pattern with high to the north and lows to the south are causing the windy conditions. A strong ridge of high pressure stretches its dome of cold air from Siberia to Interior Alaska. Low pressure to the south, over the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutians is spinning moisture and eventually warmer air north. Meanwhile, the pressure difference between the two results in high winds.

In the Interior — also seeing gusty winds that are producing extremely low wind chills, down to 60 and 75 below zero. Advisories for winter weather and wind chills will persist through the weekend.

A high wind warning is up for the West Coast and Saint Lawrence Island, for winds gusting to 65 mph.

Southeast is dealing with a large winter snowfall event, that could get sloppy as rain moves in too.

Southcentral still see high winds, in Valdez and Copper River Basin and the valleys as well. Winds will gradually subside through the late afternoon and into the evening.

Hot Spot: Cold Bay at 42 degrees. Cold Spot: Eagle with 51 below zero. Brrr, and double brrr!