Freezing rain and hazardous travel hits Southcentral Alaska

A winter weather advisory remains in place for Anchorage until 11 p.m.
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 8:10 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A layer of warm air has nosed its way into Southcentral Alaska, accompanied by a low spinning through the Gulf of Alaska. The combination of these two is leading to freezing drizzle and areas of wintry mix falling across much of Southcentral.

Many inland areas of the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and parts of the Mat-Su have seen on-and-off freezing drizzle since around midnight. With a light glaze expected through the remainder of the day, hazardous and icy travel conditions will stay with us into the evening hours.

Looking at the surrounding atmosphere, there’s a shallow layer of air just above the surface of the Earth. It extends roughly 2,500 feet up and is the primary focus of why we’re seeing freezing rain. The column of air is fairly saturated up to about 11,000 feet, meaning snow is falling through the layers of the atmosphere. As it slams into the shallow layer of warm air, which is seeing temperatures hovering in the mid to upper 30s, the snow is melting. It’s this melted snow that is refreezing on contact across Southcentral.

While only a glaze of ice can be expected throughout the day, it’s the coating of the ice that will create slick and hazardous road conditions. You’ll want to budget any extra time into your forecast, as roads will prove difficult and trick through the day. It’s also wise to keep your windshield defroster on, as it will prevent ice from building up on your windshield. Any freezing drizzle/rain will come to an end for many locations by 9 a.m. Monday. Into the afternoon hours, we’ll see some dry time, before another possible rain of light freezing drizzle/mix occurs into the evening hours.

Looking ahead through the week, an area of low pressure will remain to our south. While this will keep active weather fixated on the Gulf Coast region, inland areas will see the biggest impact being warmer weather. In the days ahead, temperatures will hover in the mid to upper 20s, with overnight lows in the upper 10s. This warm stretch of weather will stay with us as we close out December and welcome in next year.

Although December will likely close as one of the coldest we’ve seen in several years, this year as a whole is still one of the warmest years on record. This warmth will likely carry over into January, which is showing signs of remaining wet, warm and active.

Have a safe and wonderful Monday!